Phylogenetic beta diversity: linking ecological and evolutionary processes across space in time

Authors

  • Catherine H. Graham,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA
      *E-mail: cgraham@life.bio.sunysb.edu
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    • Both the authors contributed equally.

  • Paul V. A. Fine

    1. Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
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    • Both the authors contributed equally.


*E-mail: cgraham@life.bio.sunysb.edu

Abstract

A key challenge in ecological research is to integrate data from different scales to evaluate the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that influence current patterns of biological diversity. We build on recent attempts to incorporate phylogenetic information into traditional diversity analyses and on existing research on beta diversity and phylogenetic community ecology. Phylogenetic beta diversity (phylobetadiversity) measures the phylogenetic distance among communities and as such allows us to connect local processes, such as biotic interactions and environmental filtering, with more regional processes including trait evolution and speciation. When combined with traditional measures of beta diversity, environmental gradient analyses or ecological niche modelling, phylobetadiversity can provide significant and novel insights into the mechanisms underlying current patterns of biological diversity.

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