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Freshwater fish diversity in the western Amazon basin shaped by Andean uplift since the Late Cretaceous


Boschman, Lydian M; Carraro, Luca; Cassemiro, Fernanda A S; de Vries, Jorad; Altermatt, Florian; Hagen, Oskar; Hoorn, Carina; Pellissier, Loïc (2023). Freshwater fish diversity in the western Amazon basin shaped by Andean uplift since the Late Cretaceous. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 7(12):2037-2044.

Abstract

South America is home to the highest freshwater fish biodiversity on Earth, and the hotspot of species richness is located in the western Amazon basin. The location of this hotspot is enigmatic, as it is inconsistent with the pattern observed in river systems across the world of increasing species richness towards a river’s mouth. Here we investigate the role of river capture events caused by Andean mountain building and repeated episodes of flooding in western Amazonia in shaping the modern-day richness pattern of freshwater fishes in South America, and in Amazonia in particular. To this end, we combine a reconstruction of river networks since 80 Ma with a mechanistic model simulating dispersal, allopatric speciation and extinction over the dynamic landscape of rivers and lakes. We show that Andean mountain building and consequent numerous small river capture events in western Amazonia caused freshwater habitats to be highly dynamic, leading to high diversification rates and exceptional richness. The history of marine incursions and lakes, including the Miocene Pebas mega-wetland system in western Amazonia, played a secondary role.

Abstract

South America is home to the highest freshwater fish biodiversity on Earth, and the hotspot of species richness is located in the western Amazon basin. The location of this hotspot is enigmatic, as it is inconsistent with the pattern observed in river systems across the world of increasing species richness towards a river’s mouth. Here we investigate the role of river capture events caused by Andean mountain building and repeated episodes of flooding in western Amazonia in shaping the modern-day richness pattern of freshwater fishes in South America, and in Amazonia in particular. To this end, we combine a reconstruction of river networks since 80 Ma with a mechanistic model simulating dispersal, allopatric speciation and extinction over the dynamic landscape of rivers and lakes. We show that Andean mountain building and consequent numerous small river capture events in western Amazonia caused freshwater habitats to be highly dynamic, leading to high diversification rates and exceptional richness. The history of marine incursions and lakes, including the Miocene Pebas mega-wetland system in western Amazonia, played a secondary role.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:590 Animals (Zoology)
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:19 October 2023
Deposited On:13 Nov 2023 15:58
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:39
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2397-334X
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-023-02220-8
PubMed ID:37857892
Project Information:
  • : Funder- ETH postdoctoral fellowship 18-2 FEL-52
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  • : FunderCAPES postdoctoral fellowship National Institutes for Science and Technology (INCT) in Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity Conservation
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  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich Research Priority Program URPP GCB
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  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)