Data from: Frugivory-related traits promote speciation of tropical palms
Onstein, Renske E. et al. (2018), Data from: Frugivory-related traits promote speciation of tropical palms, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cm4nm
Animal-mediated seed dispersal by frugivorous birds and mammals is central to the ecology and functioning of ecosystems, but whether and how frugivory-related traits have affected plant speciation remains little explored. Fruit size is directly linked to plant dispersal capacity and therefore influences gene flow and genetic divergence of plant populations. Using a global species-level phylogeny with comprehensive data on fruit sizes and plant species distributions, we test whether fruit size has affected speciation rates of palms (Arecaceae), a plant family characteristic of tropical rainforests. Globally, the results reveal that palms with small fruit sizes have increased speciation rates compared with those with large (megafaunal) fruits. Speciation of small-fruited palms is particularly high in the understory of tropical rainforests in the New World, and on islands in the Old World. This suggests that frugivory-related traits in combination with geography and the movement behaviour of frugivores can influence the speciation of fleshy-fruited plants.