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Data from: Climatic effects on niche evolution in a passerine bird clade depend on paleo-climate reconstruction method

Cite this dataset

Eyres, Alison (2021). Data from: Climatic effects on niche evolution in a passerine bird clade depend on paleo-climate reconstruction method [Dataset]. Dryad.


Climatic niches describe the climatic conditions in which species can persist. Shifts in climatic niches have been observed to coincide with major climatic change, suggesting that species adapt to new conditions. We test the relationship between rates of climatic niche evolution and paleo-climatic conditions through time for 71 Old-World flycatcher species (Aves: Muscicapidae). We combine niche quantification for all species with dated phylogenies to infer past changes in the rates of niche evolution rates for temperature and precipitation niches. Paleo-climatic conditions were inferred independently using two datasets: a paleo-elevation reconstruction and the mammal fossil record. We find changes in climatic niches through time, but no or weak support for a relationship between niche evolution rates and rates of paleo-climatic change for both temperature and precipitation niche and for both reconstruction methods. In contrast, the inferred relationship between climatic conditions and niche evolution rates depends on paleo-climatic reconstruction method: rates of temperature niche evolution are significantly negatively related to absolute temperatures inferred using the paleo-elevation model but not those reconstructed from the fossil record. We suggest that paleo-climatic change might be a weak driver of climatic niche evolution in birds and highlight the need for greater integration of different paleo-climate reconstructions.


A full description of the data sources and processing methods is given in the manuscript. 

Climatic niches:

Quantification of climatic niches (temperature and precipitation) was carried out from range maps as described in the publication. Final niche values are available here.

Paleo-climatic conditions inferred from the mammal fossil record: 

Temperature and precipitation values for our study region were inferred from the mammal fossil record. Mammal fossil community data was obtained from the NOW database (accessible online <>.). Here we provide the data that was used in the manuscript and the climatic conditions inferred from each fossil locality. 

Usage notes

Please see read me file: Eyres_Evolution_climatic_niches_README.txt 


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: DFG FR 3246/2‐1

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: GFBio GO1221/25-2