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Am Nat. 2007 Aug;170 Suppl 2:S28-55.

Correlates of diversification in the plant clade Dipsacales: geographic movement and evolutionary innovations.

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


We explore patterns of diversification in the plant clades Adoxaceae and Valerianaceae (within Dipsacales), evaluating correlations between biogeographic change (i.e., movements into new areas), morphological change (e.g., the origin of putative key innovations associated with vegetative and reproductive characters), and shifts in rates of diversification. Our findings indicate that rates of diversification in these plants tend to be less tightly correlated with the evolution of morphological innovations but instead exhibit a pronounced correlation with movement into new geographic areas, particularly the dispersal of lineages into new mountainous regions. The interdependence among apparent novelties (arising from their nested phylogenetic distribution) and the correlation between morphological and biogeographic change suggests a complex history of diversification in Dipsacales. Overall, these findings highlight the importance of incorporating biogeographic history in studies of diversification rates and in the study of geographic gradients in species richness. Furthermore, these results argue against a simple deterministic relationship between dispersal and diversification: like other factors that may influence the probability of speciation and/or extinction, the impact of dispersal on diversification rates depends on being in the right place at the right time.

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