Publication details

Climatic filtering and temporal instability shape the phylogenetic diversity of European alpine floras



Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Ecography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords alpine grasslands; angiosperms; high mountains; Holocene; macroecology; Pleistocene
Description Alpine ecosystems are hotspots of biodiversity despite their cold climates. Here we investigate spatial patterns in the phylogenetic diversity (i.e. the degree of species relatedness) of European alpine floras and quantify the influence of climatic conditions since the late Pleistocene and historical climatic instability in shaping these patterns. We collected species-pool data for 22 alpine regions in central and southern Europe and calculated phylogenetic diversity within and between regions using two metrics sensitive to terminal branching in the phylogeny. We regressed phylogenetic diversity against macroclimatic variables representing seasonal extremes between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 21 000 years BP) and the present at 1000-year intervals. We found the lowest phylogenetic diversity in the Carpathians and the central Alps, and the highest in the north-eastern and southern Iberian Peninsula. Phylogenetic diversity decreased with temperature seasonality and low winter temperature. While the effect of temperature seasonality was relatively constant over time, the influence of winter temperature decreased after the LGM. We also found that phylogenetic diversity decreased with historical climatic instability. Between regions, phylogenetic diversity was mainly explained by current climatic distance rather than geographic distance, suggesting that alpine floras were primarily driven by species sorting along climatic gradients. Our results confirm the role of environmental filtering in shaping the current phylogenetic diversity of alpine floras, resulting in more closely related lineages in regions with relatively cold and unstable climates. We also highlight the importance of explicitly incorporating climatic variation through time to better understand the processes structuring the current biodiversity of alpine floras.
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