Persistence and stability of Eastern Afromontane forests: evidence from brevicipitid frogs
Article first published online: 28 APR 2014
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Journal of Biogeography
Volume 41, Issue 9, pages 1781–1792, September 2014
How to Cite
Loader, S. P., Sara Ceccarelli, F., Menegon, M., Howell, K. M., Kassahun, R., Mengistu, A. A., Saber, S. A., Gebresenbet, F., de Sá, R., Davenport, T. R. B., Larson, J. G., Müller, H., Wilkinson, M., Gower, D. J. (2014), Persistence and stability of Eastern Afromontane forests: evidence from brevicipitid frogs. Journal of Biogeography, 41: 1781–1792. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12331
- Issue published online: 11 AUG 2014
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2014
- NERC. Grant Number: NER/S/A/2000/3366
- National Geographic Expedition. Grant Number: #8532–08
- Conservation Leadership Program
- Systematics Association
- Swiss National Science Foundation. Grant Number: 31003A-133067
- NHM Museum Research Fund
- Percy Sladen Memorial Fund
- Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. Grant Number: I/82 772
- Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Putnam Expedition
- NSF. Grant Number: DEB-1144692
- ancestral area reconstruction;
- diversification models;
- diversification rates;
- Eastern Afromontane;
- forest persistence;
- phylogenetic diversity;
The persistence and stability of habitats through time are considered predictors of high levels of biodiversity in some environments. Long-term habitat persistence and stability may explain the species-rich, endemic forest fauna and flora of the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Region (EABR). Using complementary phylogenetic and biogeographical approaches, we examine evolutionary patterns in EABR brevicipitid frogs. Using these data, we test whether brevicipitid history reflects patterns of long-term forest persistence and/or stability across the EABR.
A dated phylogeny for brevicipitids was constructed using two nuclear and three mitochondrial markers. Alternative diversification models were used to determine signal for constant or varying net diversification rates. Using our dated tree, we identified areas of high phylogenetic diversity (PD), and inferred ancestral areas using likelihood and Bayesian approaches.
Brevicipitids have a long history, with generic diversification among extant lineages pre-dating the Oligocene (> 33 Ma). Ancestral-area reconstructions indicate the presence of brevicipitids in the EABR since the Oligocene, and support a scenario of palaeoendemics surviving in EABR refugia. Ancestral-area reconstructions indicate that the central Eastern Arc Mountains (EAM) formed the initial centre of diversification of forest brevicipitids. Measures of PD show that diversity varies across the EABR but is highest in the EAM. Constant net diversification rate in brevicipitids is a significantly better fit than alternative, rate-variable models.
The degree of persistence of forest habitats appears to be a contributing factor to the varying levels of diversity across the EABR in brevicipitids (and other organisms). In contrast to the Southern Highlands and Ethiopian Bale Mountains, the EAM stands out as an area that enabled the constant accumulation of brevicipitid species over a long period of time.