Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Comparative and predictive phylogeography in the South American diagonal of open formations: Unravelling the biological and environmental influences on multitaxon demography

Citation

Bonatelli, Isabel et al. (2022), Comparative and predictive phylogeography in the South American diagonal of open formations: Unravelling the biological and environmental influences on multitaxon demography, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1jwstqjrx

Abstract

Phylogeography investigates historical drivers of species’ geographic distribution. Special attention has been given to ecological, climatic, and geological processes in the diversification of the Neotropical biota. Several species sampled across the dry diagonal of South America (DDSA, comprising the Caatinga, Cerrado, and Chaco biomes) experienced range shifts coincident with Quaternary climatic changes. However, studies across different spatial, temporal, and biological scales on species from South America’s dry biomes are still poorly represented. Here, we combine phylogeographic model selection and machine learning predictive frameworks to investigate the influence of Pleistocene climatic changes on both plant and animal species from the DDSA. We assembled mitochondrial/chloroplastic DNA sequences in public repositories and inferred the historical demographic responses of 70 lineages. We then built a random forest model using both biotic and abiotic information to identify potential traits for predicting whether species underwent population expansion, contraction, or stasis during the Pleistocene. Finally, we estimated the temporal synchrony of species demographic responses using hierarchical approximate Bayesian computation (hABC). Biotic variables largely predicted how species responded to Pleistocene climatic changes, and demographic changes were mostly synchronous during the Middle Pleistocene. Although many DDSA species underwent demographic expansion, presumably associated with the spread of aridity during glacial Pleistocene periods, our findings suggest that some species exhibited the opposite response and that species-specific attributes might have been related to these differences.

Funding

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES), Award: 001

São Paulo Research Foundation, Award: 2018-03428-5