Geographic range velocity and its association with phylogeny and life history traits in North American woody plants.
The geographic ranges of taxa change in response to environmental conditions. Yet whether rates of range movement (biotic velocities) are phylogenetically conserved is not well known. Phylogenetic conservatism of biotic velocities could reflect similarities among related lineages in climatic tolerances and dispersal-associated traits. We assess whether late Quaternary biotic velocities were phylogenetically conserved and whether they correlate with climatic tolerances and dispersal-associated traits. We used phylogenetic regression and nonparametric correlation to evaluate associations between biotic velocities, dispersal-associated traits, and climatic tolerances for 28 woody plant genera and subgenera in North America. The velocities with which woody plant taxa shifted their core geographic range limits were positively correlated from time step to time step between 16 and 7 ka. The strength of this correlation weakened after 7 ka as the pace of climate change slowed. Dispersal-associated traits and climatic tolerances were not associated with biotic velocities. Although the biotic velocities of some genera were consistently fast and others consistently slow, biotic velocities were not phylogenetically conserved. The rapid late Quaternary range shifts of plants lacking traits that facilitate frequent long-distance dispersal has long been noted (i.e., Reid's Paradox). Our results are consistent with this paradox and show that it remains robust when phylogenetic information is taken into account. The lack of association between biotic velocities, dispersal-associated traits, and climatic tolerances may reflect several, nonmutually exclusive processes, including rare long-distance dispersal, biotic interactions, and cryptic refugia. Because late Quaternary biotic velocities were decoupled from dispersal-associated traits, trait data for genera and subgenera cannot be used to predict longer-term (millennial-scale) floristic responses to climate change.
Harnik, PG; Maherali, H; Miller, JH; Manos, PS
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