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Pleistocene fragmentation of Amazon species’ ranges

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Historical patterns of connection and isolation of the impressive biological diversity of the Amazon Basin have been the subject of extensive debate, based on evidence drawn from distributional patterns of endemic species, vegetation histories from palynological studies, and geological studies. We develop species-specific ecological niche models based on current occurrence patterns of 17 species of birds and woody plants, which we project onto modelled Pleistocene (Last Glacial Maximum) climatic patterns to reconstruct past potential distributions of each species. Forest species’ distributions showed fragmentation at Last Glacial Maximum and these fragments were coincident spatially, whereas savanna species showed no clear trends. Our results suggest that past climate changes fragmented forest species’ ranges within a matrix of uncertain composition.
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Keywords: Amazon; Pleistocene; biogeography; ecological niche modelling; last glacial maximum

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental, Avenue Romeu Tórtima, 388, Barão Geraldo 13084–791 Campinas, SP, Brazil 2: Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA and

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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