Understanding the large-scale processes that shape distributions of species diversity is a long-standing challenge in ecology and can also help set conservation priorities. Regions with highly diverse or unique organisms may be targeted for conservation, but how such a region acquired its species could affect how they should be protected.
Without near-perfect records of where organisms have occurred throughout the past, it can be difficult to determine the processes underlying diversity patterns. In the absence of such detailed information, regions with high diversity or many unique species are often assumed to be hotbeds of species origination, but a new theory demonstrates that such places could instead result from the immigration of species.
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Emma E. Goldberg (University of California, San Diego), Kaustuv Roy (University of California, San Diego), Russell Lande (University of California, San Diego), and David Jablonski (University of Chicago), "Diversity, endemism, and age distributions in macroevolutionary sources and sinks." 165:6 June 2005.
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