Sequence alignment from Lizards of the lost arcs: mid-Cenozoic diversification, persistence and ecological marginalization in the West Pacific
2018-01-16T15:13:39Z (GMT) by
Regions with complex geological histories often have diverse and highly endemic biotas, yet inferring the ecological and historical processes shaping this relationship remains challenging. Here, in the context of the taxon cycle model of insular community assembly, we investigate patterns of lineage diversity and habitat usage in a newly characterized vertebrate radiation centred upon the world's most geologically complex insular region: island arcs spanning from the Philippines to Fiji. On island arcs taxa are ecologically widespread , and provide evidence to support one key prediction of the taxon cycle, specifically that interior habitats (lowland rainforests, montane habitats) are home to a greater number of older or relictual lineages than are peripheral habitats (coastal and open forests).Oncontinental fringes, however, the clade shows a disjunct distribution away fromlowland rainforest, occurring in coastal, open or montane habitats. These results are consistent with a role for biotic interactions in shaping disjunct distributions (a central tenant of the taxon cycle), but we find this pattern most strongly on continental fringes not islands. Our results also suggest that peripheral habitats on islands, and especially island arcs, may be important for persistence and diversification, not just dispersal and colonization. Finally, new phylogenetic evidence for subaerial island archipelagos (with an associated biota) east of present-day Wallace's Line since the Oligocene has important implications for understanding long-term biotic interchange and assembly across Asia and Australia.