Historical contingencies, scale-dependence and contemporary- and past-climate determine the evolutionary global reassembly of bat communities

Part of:
14:55, Friday 20 Dec 2019 (15 minutes)
Room EFG
Patterns of evolutionary relatedness among geographically co-occurring species are traditionally related to three mechanisms: environmental filtering, competitive exclusion, and neutrality. Nevertheless, these mechanisms are built into assumptions that have been continuously contended by evidence related – but not limited – to adaptive changes in niche requirements and competitive abilities, diversification rates, dispersal barriers, species pool extent and isolation. While the conflicting evidence ignited deeper interest in the causes of the evolutionary structuring of ecological communities, studies linking local- and larger-scale processes working across evolution and over contemporary- and historical environmental gradients in the formation of present-day ecological communities are still incipient. Here, we use the geographical distribution and the phylogenetic history of bats (Chiroptera), and the contemporary- and past-climate to assess how historical, environmental, and spatial and temporal scale-dependent factors jointly determine the phylogenetic structure of bat communities worldwide. We show that bat communities tend to be less related as sampling pools become more restricted and isolated, supporting the existence of strong effects of spatial and environmental isolation and within-region diversification on the structuring of bat communities. Moreover, communities located in regions that were much colder during the last glacial maximum in relation to the contemporary period are generally less phylogenetically structured. We show that lineages inhabiting areas with more stable climate over extended geological time show higher net diversification rates. In addition to highlighting the importance of an integrative approach when studying the evolutionary structuring of ecological communities, our study shows how recent historical events – such as the Quaternary ice age - rather than just deep-time evolutionary processes can determine the structure and composition of biological communities.
Concordia University
Ph.D. Candidate | Candidat au doctorat

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