Biogeography of species richness gradients: Linking adaptive traits, demography and diversification

Carnicer J., Brotons L., Stefanescu C., Peñuelas J. (2012) Biogeography of species richness gradients: Linking adaptive traits, demography and diversification. Biological Reviews. 87: 457-479.
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Doi: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2011.00210.x

Resum:

Here we review how adaptive traits contribute to the emergence and maintenance of species richness gradients through their influence on demographic and diversification processes. We start by reviewing how demographic dynamics change along species richness gradients. Empirical studies show that geographical clines in population parameters and measures of demographic variability are frequent along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. Demographic variability often increases at the extremes of regional species richness gradients and contributes to shape these gradients. Available studies suggest that adaptive traits significantly influence demographic dynamics, and set the limits of species distributions. Traits related to thermal tolerance, resource use, phenology and dispersal seem to play a significant role. For many traits affecting demography and/or diversification processes, complex mechanistic approaches linking genotype, phenotype and fitness are becoming progressively available. In several taxa, species can be distributed along adaptive trait continuums, i.e. a main axis accounting for the bulk of inter-specific variation in some correlated adaptive traits. It is shown that adaptive trait continuums can provide useful mechanistic frameworks to explain demographic dynamics and diversification in species richness gradients. Finally, we review the existence of sequences of adaptive traits in phylogenies, the interactions of adaptive traits and community context, the clinal variation of traits across geographical gradients, and the role of adaptive traits in determining the history of dispersal and diversification of clades. Overall, we show that the study of demographic and evolutionary mechanisms that shape species richness gradients clearly requires the explicit consideration of adaptive traits. To conclude, future research lines and trends in the field are briefly outlined. © 2011 The Authors. Biological Reviews © 2011 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

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Parasitism and migration in southern palaearctic populations of the painted lady butterfly, vanessa cardui (lepidoptera: Nymphalidae).

Stefanescu C, Askew RR, Corbera J, Shaw MR (2012). Parasitism and migration in southern palaearctic populations of the painted lady butterfly, vanessa cardui (lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). European Journal of Entomology 109: 85-94.

Habitat associations of species show consistent but weak responses to climate

Suggitt A.J., Stefanescu C., Páramo F., Oliver T., Anderson B.J., Hill J.K., Roy D.B., Brereton T., Thomas C.D. (2012) Habitat associations of species show consistent but weak responses to climate. Biology Letters. 8: 590-593.
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Doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0112

Resum:

Different vegetation types can generate variation in microclimates at local scales, potentially buffering species from adverse climates. To determine if species could respond to such microclimates under climatic warming, we evaluated whether ectothermic species (butterflies) can exploit favourable microclimates and alter their use of different habitats in response to year-to-year variation in climate. In both relatively cold (Britain) and warm (Catalonia) regions of their geographical ranges,most species shifted into cooler, closed habitats (e.g. woodland) in hot years, and into warmer, open habitats (e.g. grassland) in cooler years. Additionally, three-quarters of species occurred in closed habitats more frequently in the warm region than in the cool region. Thus, species shift their local distributions and alter their habitat associations to exploit favourable microclimates, although the magnitude of the shift (approx. 1.3% of individuals from open to shade, per degree Celsius) is unlikely to buffer species from impacts of regional climate warming. This journal is © 2012 The Royal Society.

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