Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Phylogenetic analysis of niche divergence reveals distinct evolutionary histories and climate change implications for tropical carnivorous pitcher plants

Published Date
  • First published: 
  • DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12382
Author
Rachel Schwallier,Niels Raes,Hugo J. de Boer,Rutger A. Vos,Rogier R. van Vugt,Barbara Gravendeel

Abstract

Aim

To analyse the underpinnings of historical drivers of diversity and their contributions to current distributions and future roles in a changing climate, we studied the relationship between ecological niche divergence and phylogenetic signal in tropical carnivorous pitcher plants.

Location

Southeast Asia.

Methods

Estimates of realized ecological niches were reconstructed and plotted along a newly created multilocus molecular phylogeny. Phylogenetic signal was analysed by comparisons of calculated phylogenetic relatedness with ecological niche divergence. Current and projected future potentially suitable habitats were mapped for several species of plants with variable evolutionary histories and distributions.

Results

Highland and lowland species had distinct phylogenetic signals. Higher altitude species had significantly lower molecular divergence as compared with the lowland species, yet ecological niches with less overlap. When projected onto a future climate scenario, highland species lose a greater amount of potentially suitable habitat compared to lower altitude species, and the majority of studied higher altitude species will face an overall loss of future suitable habitat.

Main conclusion

We conclude that distinct phylogenetic signals not only unravel differing evolutionary histories but also show that the implications of species' tolerances to future changing climate vary. Over the past million years, historical climate change shaped the differing evolution and ecological niches of highland and lowland tropical pitcher plant species. Rapid, recent radiations of the higher altitude species are reflected in limited molecular divergence, which is in sharp contrast with the more gradually evolved and genetically distinct lower altitude species in our study. Our projections for future potentially suitable habitats show that on-going climate shifts will have detrimental effects on especially the higher altitude species due to a narrower niche tolerance and dramatic loss of potentially suitable habitat.

For further details log on website :
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ddi.12382/abstract;jsessionid=3C04C130D60FD6953A96E249F369C0D5.f04t03

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