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Long-term cloud forest response to climate warming revealed by insect speciation history


Salces-Castellano, Antonia et al. (2020), Long-term cloud forest response to climate warming revealed by insect speciation history, Dryad, Dataset,


Montane cloud forests are areas of high endemism, and are one of the more vulnerable terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. Thus, understanding how they both contribute to the generation of biodiversity, and will respond to ongoing climate change, are important and related challenges. The widely accepted model for montane cloud forest dynamics involves upslope forcing of their range limits with global climate warming. However, limited climate data provides some support for an alternative model, where range limits are forced downslope with climate warming. Testing between these two models is challenging, due to the inherent limitations of climate and pollen records. We overcome this with an alternative source of historical information, testing between competing model predictions using genomic data and demographic analyses for a species of beetle tightly associated to an oceanic island cloud forest. Results unequivocally support the alternative model: populations that were isolated at higher elevation peaks during the Last Glacial Maximum are now in contact and hybridising at lower elevations. Our results suggest that genomic data is a rich source of information to further understand how montane cloud forest biodiversity originates, and how it is likely to be impacted by ongoing climate change.


Federación Española de Enfermedades Raras

Agencia Estatal de Investigación, Award: CGL2017‐85718‐P