The ecological and evolutionary drivers of spatial biodiversity patterns [article]

Alexander Skeels, University, The Australian National, University, The Australian National
The form, function, and kinds of species that coexist together vary dramatically from place to place. These spatial patterns of biodiversity are the focus of biogeographical and macroecological research and offer us clues into the evolutionary processes shaping nature's variety. Finding general patterns and their underlying drivers, however, is not a straightforward task because a suite of ecological and evolutionary processes interact to shape patterns of biodiversity in the present-day. By
more » ... present-day. By integrating geographic, phylogenetic, phenotypic, and ecological data, and methods from the tool kits of community ecologists, macroevolutionists, and biogeographers, we can delve into the complexities shaping diversity patterns and get a more holistic understanding of their origin and maintenance. In my opening chapter I briefly summarise the state of the field and introduce the outline of my thesis. The first two chapters forming the core of my thesis (Chapter Two and Chapter Three) present new methods to study spatial patterns of biodiversity. Chapter Two presents a process-based model of geographic range evolution and the geography of speciation. I use this model to make inferences about the history of speciation in thirty different plant and animal clades, highlighting some general taxonomic trends in speciation which have shaped biogeographic patterns in the present day. Then, in Chapter Three, I present a method to reconstruct temporal patterns in the evolution of biodiversity based on ancestral range estimates from historical biogeographic models. The following three chapters present empirical studies which link community ecology, macroecology, and macroevolution to better understand spatial diversity patterns in plants and lizards. Chapter Four integrates phenotypic and spatial data to look at what drives global patterns of species richness in ten different lizard clades, comprising over 6000 species. Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 explicitly investigate links between community ecology and macroevolution to look at the evol [...]
doi:10.25911/5eeb43d16d156 fatcat:fqrppur6rfac5f3jcprv36fqwu