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Complex histories of speciation and dispersal in communities: a re-analysis of some Australian bird data using BPA

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Demonstrate the utility of Brooks Parsimony Analysis (BPA) in showing that communities of species characterizing areas of endemism may have complex histories rather than simple histories of vicariance, and that the non-vicariant influences can be discovered. Location

Australia. Methods

Primary and secondary BPA of eight clades of Australian birds inhabiting ten areas of endemism. Results

While supporting previous general conclusions that the evolution of those members of the Australian avifauna has been influenced by two different vicariant elements, BPA also discovered substantial non-vicariant elements, including one non-response to a vicariance event, five instances of peripheral isolates speciation, four episodes of extinction, seven cases of post-speciation dispersal and three lineage duplications, which could represent ancient episodes of sympatric speciation. The result of including all evolutionary events in the analysis is that seven of the ten areas have reticulate histories. Main conclusions

Areas of endemism are not necessarily the result of simple histories of vicariance. They may also be evolutionary hot spots, places where multiple evolutionary events have occurred over a significant period of time. This produces communities heavily influenced by a variety of evolutionary processes affecting the same areas at different times.

Keywords: Brooks Parsimony Analysis; areas of endemism; community evolution; evolutionary hot spots; historical biogeography; speciation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Centre for Comparative Biology and Biodiversity, Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: 2002-08-01

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