Data from: Accumulation over evolutionary time as a major cause of biodiversity hotspots in conifers
Sundaram, Mekala et al. (2019), Data from: Accumulation over evolutionary time as a major cause of biodiversity hotspots in conifers, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.23p15n1
Biodiversity hotspots are important for understanding how areas of high species richness form, but disentangling the processes that produce them is difficult. We combine geographic ranges, phylogenetic relationships, and trait data for 606 conifer species in order to explore the mechanisms underlying richness hotspot formation. We identify eight richness hotspots that overlap known centers of plant endemism and diversity. We find that conifer richness hotspots occur in mountainous areas within broader regions of long-term climate stability. Hotspots are not generally unique in their species composition, traits or phylogenetic structure; a large percentage of their species are not restricted to hotspots and they rarely show either a preponderance of new radiating lineages or old relictual lineages. We suggest that conifer hotspots have primarily formed as a result of lineages accumulating over evolutionary time scales, and not through high origination or preferential retention of relictual lineages or retention of unique traits, although such processes may contribute to nuanced differences among hotspots. Although conifer hotspots around the world can have very different taxa and phylogenetic composition, our results suggest that conifer hotspots form through accumulation of diversity from species rich pools and in mountains of climatically stable regions.