Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Elevational diversity patterns as an example for evolutionary and ecological dynamics in ferns and lycophytes


Kessler, Michael; Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Kluge, Jürgen (2016). Elevational diversity patterns as an example for evolutionary and ecological dynamics in ferns and lycophytes. Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 54(6):617-625.

Abstract

Evolutionary processes such as adaptation, ecological filtering, and niche conservatism involve the interaction of organisms with their environment and are thus commonly studied along environmental gradients. Elevational gradients have become among the most studied environmental gradients to understand large-scale patterns of species richness and composition because they are highly replicated with different combinations of geographical, environmental and historical factors. We here review the literature on using elevational gradients to understand evolutionary processes in ferns. Some phylogenetic studies of individual fern clades have considered elevation in the analysis or interpretation and postulated that fern diversification is linked to the colonization of mountain habitats. Other studies that have linked elevational community composition and hence ecological filtering with phylogenetic community composition and morphological traits, usually only found limited phylogenetic signal. However, these studies are ultimately only correlational, and there are few actual tests of the evolutionary mechanisms leading to these patterns. We identify a number of challenges for improving our understanding of how evolutionary and ecological processes are linked to elevational richness patterns in ferns: i) limited information on traits and their ecological relevance, ii) uncertainties on the dispersal kernels of ferns and hence the delimitation of regional species pools from which local assemblages are recruited, iii) limited genomic data to identify candidate genes under selection and hence actually document adaptation and selection, and iv) conceptual challenges in developing clear and testable hypotheses to how specific evolutionary processes can be linked to patterns in community composition and species richness.

Abstract

Evolutionary processes such as adaptation, ecological filtering, and niche conservatism involve the interaction of organisms with their environment and are thus commonly studied along environmental gradients. Elevational gradients have become among the most studied environmental gradients to understand large-scale patterns of species richness and composition because they are highly replicated with different combinations of geographical, environmental and historical factors. We here review the literature on using elevational gradients to understand evolutionary processes in ferns. Some phylogenetic studies of individual fern clades have considered elevation in the analysis or interpretation and postulated that fern diversification is linked to the colonization of mountain habitats. Other studies that have linked elevational community composition and hence ecological filtering with phylogenetic community composition and morphological traits, usually only found limited phylogenetic signal. However, these studies are ultimately only correlational, and there are few actual tests of the evolutionary mechanisms leading to these patterns. We identify a number of challenges for improving our understanding of how evolutionary and ecological processes are linked to elevational richness patterns in ferns: i) limited information on traits and their ecological relevance, ii) uncertainties on the dispersal kernels of ferns and hence the delimitation of regional species pools from which local assemblages are recruited, iii) limited genomic data to identify candidate genes under selection and hence actually document adaptation and selection, and iv) conceptual challenges in developing clear and testable hypotheses to how specific evolutionary processes can be linked to patterns in community composition and species richness.

Statistics

Citations

2 citations in Web of Science®
2 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

1 download since deposited on 28 Jul 2016
0 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:28 Jul 2016 09:44
Last Modified:12 Jan 2017 12:55
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1759-6831
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jse.12218

Download