Data from: Frequent and parallel habitat transitions as driver of unbounded radiations in the Cape flora
Cite this dataset
Bouchenak-Khelladi, Yanis; Linder, H. Peter (2017). Data from: Frequent and parallel habitat transitions as driver of unbounded radiations in the Cape flora [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3ph7k
The enormous species richness in the Cape Floristic Region (CFR) of Southern Africa is the result of numerous radiations, but the temporal progression and possible mechanisms of these radiations are still poorly understood. Here, we explore the macroevolutionary dynamics of the Restionaceae, that include 340 species which are found in all vegetation types in the Cape flora and are ecologically dominant in fynbos. Using an almost complete (i.e. 98%) species-level time calibrated phylogeny and models of diversification dynamics, we show that species diversification is constant through the Cenozoic, with no evidence of an acceleration with the onset of the modern winter-wet climate, or a recent density-dependent slowdown. Contrary to expectation, species inhabiting the oldest (montane) and most extensive (drylands) habitats did not undergo higher diversification rates than species in the younger (lowlands) and more restricted (wetland) habitats. We show that the rate of habitat transitions is more closely related to the speciation rate than to time, and that more than a quarter of all speciation events are associated with habitat transitions. This suggests that the unbounded Restionaceae diversification resulted from numerous, parallel, habitat shifts, rather than persistence in an habitat stimulating speciation. We speculate that this could be one of the mechanisms resulting in the hyper-diverse Cape flora.
Cape Floristic Region