Short-term Visitor

The role of environmental heterogeneity in diversity-area relationships

PI(s): Alejandra Ortiz Medrano (Instituto de Ecologia, UNAM)
Start Date: 3-Sep-2013
End Date: 30-Nov-2013
Keywords: adaptive radiation, biodiversity, community ecology, ecological niche modeling, speciation

This project seeks to evaluate the role of spatial environmental conditions in the production and maintenance of diversity. This project will examine the relationship between climatic conditions and the probability of speciation on islands. In particular, this project will test for an association between environmental heterogeneity - the tendency for environmental conditions to vary across landscapes - and speciation. Finally, the project will also address the relationship between contemporary community diversity (i.e., species richness and phylogenetic diversity) and environmental variation. This study will distinguish between neutral models in which only island size accounts for speciation/diversity patterns and one in which heterogeneity contributes, implying a strong role for divergent natural selection, adaptive radiation, and deterministic community assembly in shaping diversity-area relationships.