Putting biogeography’s cart back behind taxonomy’s horse: a response to Triantis et al.

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Abstract

In a recent paper, two of us discussed diversity patterns and diversification processes in the Azores flora. Triantis et al. (2012, Journal of Biogeography, 39, 1179–1184) challenged our hypothesis that palaeoclimatic differences had an effect on diversification rates and suggested that area, island age and isolation explain diversity patterns. They did not, however, fully address the results from our subsequent paper, in which we showed that diversity patterns evident from phylogeographic studies differ markedly from those suggested by checklists. Checklists are working hypotheses and we suggest that the discrepancies evident between molecular data and checklists may be indicative of deficiencies in our taxonomic understanding of the Azores flora. Patterns of molecular and morphological diversity need to be better understood, and the discrepancies between checklists and molecular data accounted for, before we can establish the relative importance of factors such as palaeoclimate, area, island age or isolation in generating endemic diversity patterns in the Azores flora.

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