Biogeographic ranges do not support niche theory in radiating Canary Island plant clades

Steinbauer, Manuel J. and Field, Richard and Fernández-Palacios, José-Maria and Irl, Severin D.H. and Rüdiger, Otto and Schaefer, Hanno and Beierkuhnlein, Carl (2016) Biogeographic ranges do not support niche theory in radiating Canary Island plant clades. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25 (7). pp. 792-804. ISSN 1466-8238

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Abstract

Aim: Ecological niche concepts, in combination with biogeographic history, underlie our understanding of biogeographic ranges. Two pillars of this understanding are competitive displacement and niche conservatism. The competitive displacement hypothesis holds that very similar (e.g. closely related) co-occurring species should diverge, forced apart by competition. In contrast, according to the niche conservatism hypothesis, closely related species should have similar niches. If these are fundamental structuring forces, they should be detectable when comparing the climatic niches of endemic species in radiating clades in oceanic archipelagos, where closely related species exist in both sympatry and allopatry and the species' entire ranges are known. We took advantage of this natural experimental system to test whether the climatic niche relationships predicted by the two hypotheses are found.

Location: Canary Islands.

Methods: For the plant clades Aeonium, Argyranthemum, Descurainia, Echium, Lotus and Sonchus, separately, we tested relationships between phylogenetic distance and climatic niche differentiation (in temperature, precipitation and their combination), using a high-resolution dataset. We also tested for niche conservatism using Blomberg's K and Pagel's λ. We compared climatic niche differentiation between pairs of species existing in sympatry with that for pairs of species in allopatry. For each comparison, we focused on the climatic niche space available to both species.

Results: The relationships between phylogenetic distance and climatic niche differentiation were mostly non-significant; some weak but significant positive relationships were found, mainly for Aeonium and Sonchus. Where differences between sympatry and allopatry were found, niche differentiation tended to be greater in allopatry.

Main conclusions: The expectations from niche conservatism were frequently not met; instead our results suggest considerable climatic niche lability. All significant differences in climatic niche differentiation were opposite to the predictions from competitive displacement. These forces may be less important in structuring biogeographic ranges than is commonly thought, at least on islands.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Steinbauer, M. J., Field, R., Fernández-Palacios, J. M., Irl, S. D. H., Otto, R., Schaefer, H., Beierkuhnlein, C. (2016), Biogeographic ranges do not support niche theory in radiating Canary Island plant clades. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 25: 792–804, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/geb.12425. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Keywords: Adaptive radiation; climate; competition; divergence; ecological character displacement; endemic plants; ghost of competition past; niche conservatism; sister clades; speciation
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Geography
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12425
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 14:09
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 03:10
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/34329

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