5 years ago

Phylogenetic diversity anomaly in angiosperms between eastern Asia and eastern North America [Ecology]

Phylogenetic diversity anomaly in angiosperms between eastern Asia and eastern North America [Ecology]
Robert E. Ricklefs, Yi Jin, Hong Qian

Although eastern Asia (EAS) and eastern North America (ENA) have similar climates, plant species richness in EAS greatly exceeds that in ENA. The degree to which this diversity difference reflects the ages of the floras or their rates of evolutionary diversification has not been quantified. Measures of species diversity that do not incorporate the ages of lineages disregard the evolutionary distinctiveness of species. In contrast, phylogenetic diversity integrates both the number of species and their history of evolutionary diversification. Here we compared species diversity and phylogenetic diversity in a large number of flowering plant (angiosperm) floras distributed across EAS and ENA, two regions with similar contemporary environments and broadly shared floristic history. After accounting for climate and sample area, we found both species diversity and phylogenetic diversity to be significantly higher in EAS than in ENA. When we controlled the number of species statistically, we found that phylogenetic diversity remained substantially higher in EAS than in ENA, although it tended to converge at high latitude. This pattern held independently for herbs, shrubs, and trees. The anomaly in species and phylogenetic diversity likely resulted from differences in regional processes, related in part to high climatic and topographic heterogeneity, and a strong monsoon climate, in EAS. The broad connection between tropical and temperate floras in southern Asia also might have played a role in creating the phylogenetic diversity anomaly.

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