Decline of a biome: Evolution, contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion of the Australian mesic zone biota

Byrne, Margaret, Steane, Dorothy A., Joseph, Leo, Yeates, David K., Jordan, Greg J., Crayn, Darren, Aplin, Ken, Cantrill, David J., Cook, Lyn G., Crisp, Michael D., Keogh, J. Scott, Melville, Jane, Moritz, Craig, Porch, Nicholas, Sniderman, J. M. Kale, Sunnucks, Paul and Weston, Peter H. (2011) Decline of a biome: Evolution, contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion of the Australian mesic zone biota. Journal of Biogeography, 38 9: 1635-1656. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02535.x


Author Byrne, Margaret
Steane, Dorothy A.
Joseph, Leo
Yeates, David K.
Jordan, Greg J.
Crayn, Darren
Aplin, Ken
Cantrill, David J.
Cook, Lyn G.
Crisp, Michael D.
Keogh, J. Scott
Melville, Jane
Moritz, Craig
Porch, Nicholas
Sniderman, J. M. Kale
Sunnucks, Paul
Weston, Peter H.
Title Decline of a biome: Evolution, contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion of the Australian mesic zone biota
Journal name Journal of Biogeography   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0305-0270
1365-2699
Publication date 2011-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02535.x
Volume 38
Issue 9
Start page 1635
End page 1656
Total pages 22
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aim The mesic biome, encompassing both rain forest and open sclerophyllous forests, is central to understanding the evolution of Australia’s terrestrial biota and has long been considered the ancestral biome of the continent. Our aims are to review and refine key hypotheses derived from palaeoclimatic data and the fossil record that are critical to understanding the evolution of the Australian mesic biota. We examine predictions arising from these hypotheses using available molecular phylogenetic and phylogeographical data. In doing so, we increase understanding of the mesic biota and highlight data deficiencies and fruitful areas for future research.
Location The mesic biome of Australia, along the eastern coast of Australia, and in the south-east and south-west, including its rain forest and sclerophyllous, often eucalypt-dominated, habitats.
Methods We derived five hypotheses based on palaeoclimatic and fossil data regarding the evolution of the Australian mesic biota, particularly as it relates to the mesic biome. We evaluated predictions formulated from these hypotheses using suitable molecular phylogenies of terrestrial plants and animals and freshwater invertebrates.
Results There was support for the ancestral position of mesic habitat in most clades, with support for rain forest habitat ancestry in some groups, while evidence of ancestry in mesic sclerophyllous habitats was also demonstrated for some plants and herpetofauna. Contraction of mesic habitats has led to extinction of numerous lineages in many clades and this is particularly evident in the rain forest component. Species richness was generally higher in sclerophyllous clades than in rain forest clades, probably due to higher rates of net speciation in the former and extinction in the latter. Although extinction has been prominent in rain forest communities, tropical rain forests appear to have experienced extensive immigration from northern neighbours. Pleistocene climatic oscillations have left genetic signatures at multiple levels of divergence and with complex geographical structuring, even in areas with low topographical relief and few obvious geographical barriers.
Main conclusions Our review confirms long-held views of the ancestral position of the Australian mesic biome but also reveals new insights into the complexity of the processes of contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion during the evolution of this biome.
Keyword Australian mesic zone
Biogeography
Evolutionary history
Phylogeny
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 02 Sep 2011, 09:47:38 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences