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The effects of island ontogeny on species diversity and phylogeny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number20133227
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1784
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2014


A major goal of island biogeography is to understand howisland communities are assembled over time. However, we know little about the influence of variable area and ecological opportunity on island biotas over geological timescales. Islands have limited life spans, and it has been posited that insular diversity patterns should rise and fall with an island's ontogeny. The potential of phylogenies to inform us of island ontogenetic stage remains unclear, as we lack a phylogenetic framework that focuses on islands rather than clades. Here, we present a parsimonious island-centric model that integrates phylogeny and ontogeny into island biogeography and can incorporate a negative feedback of diversity on species origination. This framework allows us to generate predictions about species richness and phylogenies on islands of different ages. We find that peak richness lags behind peak island area, and that endemic species age increases with island age on volcanic islands. When diversity negatively affects rates of immigration and cladogenesis, our model predicts speciation slowdowns on old islands. Importantly, we find that branching times of in situ radiations can be informative of an island's ontogenetic stage. This novel framework provides a quantitative means of uncovering processes responsible for island biogeography patterns using phylogenies.

    Research areas

  • Endemicity, Island biogeography, Phylogeny, Radiation, Volcanic ontogeny

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