5 years ago

Paleoclimate determines diversification patterns in the fossorial snake family Uropeltidae Cuvier, 1829

Paleoclimate determines diversification patterns in the fossorial snake family Uropeltidae Cuvier, 1829
Understanding how and why diversification rates vary across evolutionary time is central to understanding how biodiversity is generated and maintained. Recent mathematical models that allow estimation of diversification rates across time from reconstructed phylogenies have enabled us to make inferences on how biodiversity copes with environmental change. Here, we explore patterns of temporal diversification in Uropeltidae, a diverse fossorial snake family. We generate a time-calibrated phylogenetic hypothesis for Uropeltidae and show a significant correlation between diversification rate and paleotemperature during the Cenozoic. We show that the temporal diversification pattern of this group is punctuated by one rate shift event with a decrease in diversification and turnover rate between ca. 11Ma to present, but there is no strong support for mass extinction events. The analysis indicates higher turnover during periods of drastic climatic fluctuations and reduced diversification rates associated with contraction and fragmentation of forest habitats during the late Miocene. Our study highlights the influence of environmental fluctuations on diversification rates in fossorial taxa such as uropeltids, and raises conservation concerns related to present rate of climate change.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1055790317303640

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