Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Species diversification in biodiversity hotspots

Date:
August 19, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Biodiversification isn’t always favored by living in a hotspot of biodiversity, suggests a study of Australian wood shrubs. The finding goes against previous thinking and boosts our understanding of the factors driving biodiversity. A common view is that species in biodiversity hotspots diversify more quickly than species in less biodiverse areas. But that’s not the case for the spikey-flowered Banksia.

Biodiversification isn't always favoured by living in a hotspot of biodiversity, suggests a study of Australian wood shrubs. The finding, reported in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, goes against previous thinking and boosts our understanding of the factors driving biodiversity.

A common view is that species in biodiversity hotspots diversify more quickly than species in less biodiverse areas. But that's not the case for the spikey-flowered Banksia, Marcel Cardillo and Renae Pratt report.

The group is found in many parts of Australia, including the biodiverse Southwest Botanical Province, which boasts more than 7300 plant species amidst shrubland and semi-arid heath, and Mediterranean-climate forests. But although Banksia species richness in this hotspot is ten times that of the rest of the continent, it's not diversifying any more quickly than Banksia plants in other parts of Australia.

The question then, is how the biodiversity of the Southwest Botanical Province arose. If new species aren't arising more rapidly, perhaps they die out less frequently compared with similar plants in biodiversity poor regions. Part of the answer, the team suspect, is that new species accumulate steadily in biodiversity hotspots, at unexceptional rates, generating botanical richness over long periods of time.

The team also looked at biodiversity within the confines of the Southwest Province where they found that Banksia plants in semi-arid heath and shrublands were diversifying more quickly than plants in the high-rainfall forests. Diversity is likely generated in these semi-arid regions, then migrates out to boost diversity in the adjacent forest. Comparing hotspots with non-hotspots therefore, may be an over-simplification. The geographic pattern of Banksia diversification is far more complex than this.

Biodiversity hotspots are frequently found in Mediterranean-climate regions, where they rival tropical rainforests for flowering plant biodiversity. But these environments typically lack features such as high rainfall or productivity that are usually linked with high plant diversity. Indeed, some of the most species-rich Mediterranean communities are found in semi-arid regions, on nutrient-poor soils. Understanding these apparent outliers on global biodiversity gradients may yield insights into the factors driving the diversification of flowering plants.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marcel Cardillo, Renae Pratt. Evolution of a hotspot genus: geographic variation in speciation and extinction rates in Banksia (Proteaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2013; 13 (1): 155 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-155

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Species diversification in biodiversity hotspots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819090130.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, August 19). Species diversification in biodiversity hotspots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819090130.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Species diversification in biodiversity hotspots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819090130.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins