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Curr Biol. 2017 Jun 5;27(11):1660-1666.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.053. Epub 2017 May 18.

Equilibrium Bird Species Diversity in Atlantic Islands.

Author information

1
Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany; Unit of Evolutionary Biology/Systematic Zoology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, Haus 26, 14476 Potsdam, Germany. Electronic address: luis.valente@mfn-berlin.de.
2
Research Unit of Biodiversity (UO-CSIC-PA), Oviedo University, 33600 Mieres, Asturias, Spain.
3
Unit of Evolutionary Biology/Systematic Zoology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, Haus 26, 14476 Potsdam, Germany.
4
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 11103, Groningen 9700 CC, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Half a century ago, MacArthur and Wilson proposed that the number of species on islands tends toward a dynamic equilibrium diversity around which species richness fluctuates [1]. The current prevailing view in island biogeography accepts the fundamentals of MacArthur and Wilson's theory [2] but questions whether their prediction of equilibrium can be fulfilled over evolutionary timescales, given the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of island geological and biotic features [3-7]. Here we conduct a complete molecular phylogenetic survey of the terrestrial bird species from four oceanic archipelagos that make up the diverse Macaronesian bioregion-the Azores, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, and Madeira [8, 9]. We estimate the times at which birds colonized and speciated in the four archipelagos, including many previously unsampled endemic and non-endemic taxa and their closest continental relatives. We develop and fit a new multi-archipelago dynamic stochastic model to these data, explicitly incorporating information from 91 taxa, both extant and extinct. Remarkably, we find that all four archipelagos have independently achieved and maintained a dynamic equilibrium over millions of years. Biogeographical rates are homogeneous across archipelagos, except for the Canary Islands, which exhibit higher speciation and colonization. Our finding that the avian communities of the four Macaronesian archipelagos display an equilibrium diversity pattern indicates that a diversity plateau may be rapidly achieved on islands where rates of in situ radiation are low and extinction is high. This study reveals that equilibrium processes may be more prevalent than recently proposed, supporting MacArthur and Wilson's 50-year-old theory.

KEYWORDS:

Azores; Canary Islands; Cape Verde; Madeira; birds; colonization; diversification; dynamic equilibrium; island biogeography; phylogeny

PMID:
28528903
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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