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A historical biogeographical protocol for studying biotic diversification by taxon pulses

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Abstract Aim 

To present a historical biogeographical protocol for distinguishing biotic diversification by taxon pulse radiations from biotic diversification by vicariance. Location 

Mexico and northern Central America. Methods 

Brooks Parsimony Analysis (BPA), phylogenetic inference, linear correlation analysis. Results 

The taxon pulse radiation of 33 clades in nine areas of endemism in Mesoamerica is based on nine episodes of biotic expansion from three areas, and six episodes of vicariance, involving four geographical splits. Nineteen per cent of speciation events are due to vicariance, 25% to peripheral isolates speciation and 56% are within-area events. The species–area curve has a correlation coefficient (r 2) of 0.47. Extinction events and species richness are highly correlated (r 2 = 0.75), but colonization events and species richness are poorly correlated (r 2 = 0.36), suggesting that colonization is not the main determinant of the species–area relationship. Colonization events are more poorly correlated with size of area (r 2 = 0.05) than are in situ speciation events (r 2 = 0.60). Colonization events and in situ events are poorly correlated (r 2 = 0.02). All areas of endemism have reticulated histories, and have acted as both sources and islands at various times. Main conclusions 

Taxon pulses can be distinguished from maximum vicariance using this protocol; refining it requires a method for generating area cladograms from complex data and incorporation of direct dating of evolutionary events.
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Keywords: BPA; Mesoamerica; Mexico; extinction; historical biogeography; peripheral isolates speciation; phylogenetic inference; sympatric speciation; taxon pulse radiations; vicariance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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