Ecological niche conservatism: a time-structured review of evidence

Author: Peterson, A. Townsend

Source: Journal of Biogeography, Volume 38, Number 5, May 2011 , pp. 817-827(11)

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Buy & download fulltext article:


Price: $48.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Abstract Aim 

To evaluate the evolutionary conservatism of coarse-resolution Grinnellian (or scenopoetic) ecological niches. Location 

Global. Methods 

I review a broad swathe of literature relevant to the topic of niche conservatism or differentiation, and illustrate some of the resulting insights with examplar analyses. Results 

Ecological niche characteristics are highly conserved over short-to-moderate time spans (i.e. from individual life spans up to tens or hundreds of thousands of years); little or no ecological niche differentiation is discernible as part of the processes of invasion or speciation. Main conclusions 

Although niche conservatism is widespread, many methodological complications obscure this point. In particular, niche models are frequently over-interpreted: too often, they are based on limited occurrence data in high-dimensional environmental spaces, and cannot be interpreted robustly to indicate niche differentiation.
Related content



Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page