The University of Arizona
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How biodiversity gradients are made: speciation, extinction, and colonization

Quantitative Biology Colloquium

How biodiversity gradients are made: speciation, extinction, and colonization
Series: Quantitative Biology Colloquium
Location: MATH 402
Presenter: Elizabeth Miller, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

How were hotspots of biodiversity formed? I take a macroevolutionary approach to understand which processes generated present-day biodiversity gradients and how long these processes have operated over deep time scales. In my talk I will focus on three global-scale biodiversity patterns: the peak in marine richness at the Central Indo-Pacific region, the latitudinal biodiversity gradient on land, and the difference between terrestrial and marine richness. Species can be added to a region through in-situ speciation or colonization from elsewhere, and removed through local or global extinction. To understand the relative roles of these processes, I reconstructed past  biogeography on time-calibrated molecular phylogenies of vertebrates. A common link between these three biodiversity patterns is that species-rich regions have provided stable habitats for their occupants for much longer than species-poor regions.