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Am Nat. 2016 Aug;188(2):149-62. doi: 10.1086/687201. Epub 2016 May 31.

Impacts of Niche Breadth and Dispersal Ability on Macroevolutionary Patterns.


We describe a spatially explicit simulation experiment designed to assess relative impacts of macroecological traits on patterns of biological diversification under changing environmental conditions. Using a simulation framework, we assessed impacts of species' niche breadth (i.e., the range of their abiotic tolerances) and dispersal ability on resulting patterns of speciation and extinction and evaluated how these traits, in conjunction with environmental change, shape biological diversification. Simulation results supported both niche breadth and dispersal ability as important drivers of diversification in the face of environmental change, and suggested that the rate of environmental change influences how species interact with the extrinsic environment to generate diversity. Niche breadth had greater effects on speciation and extinction than dispersal ability when climate changed rapidly, whereas dispersal ability effects were elevated when climate changed slowly. Our simulations provide a bottom-up perspective on the generation and maintenance of diversity under climate change, offering a better understanding of potential interactions between species' intrinsic macroecological characteristics and a dynamic extrinsic environment in the process of biological diversification.


Eurasia; cellular automaton algorithm; climate change; diversification rates; extinction; simulation; speciation

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