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Linking high diversification rates of rapidly growing Amazonian plants to geophysical landscape transformations promoted by Andean uplift

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  • Fernando O.G. Figueiredo
  • Thiago André, Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará
  • ,
  • Gabriel M. Moulatlet, Amazon Regional University
  • ,
  • Mariana N. Saka, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho
  • ,
  • Mário H.T. Araujo, National Institute of Amazonian Research
  • ,
  • Hanna Tuomisto, University of Turku, Aarhus University
  • ,
  • Gabriela Zuquim
  • Thaise Emílio, Universidade Estadual de Campinas
  • ,
  • Henrik Balslev
  • Finn Borchsenius
  • Juliana V. Campos, Universidade Federal do Amazonas
  • ,
  • Marcos Silveira, Universidade Federal do Acre
  • ,
  • Domingos J. Rodrigues, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso
  • ,
  • Flavia R.C. Costa, National Institute of Amazonian Research

Amazonia is extremely biodiverse, but the mechanisms for the origin of this diversity are still under debate. We propose a diversification model for Amazonia based on the interplay of intrinsic clade functional traits, habitat associations and past geological events, using as a model group the species-rich Neotropical family Marantaceae. Our results show that the species richness of the lineage is predicted by functional strategy, rather than clade age, and thus the fast vs. slow growth functional trade-off is a major determinant of clade diversification in Marantaceae. Rapidly growing clades were mostly associated with highly productive habitats, and their origin and diversification dynamics matched the expansion of fertile soils mediated by Andean uplift c. 23 Mya. Fast-growth strategies probably led to fast molecular evolution, speeding up speciation rates and species accumulation, resulting in higher numbers of extant species. Our results indicate that pure allopatric-dispersal models disconnected from past geological and ecological forces may be inadequate for explaining the evolutionary and diversity patterns in Amazonian lowlands. We suggest that a coupling of the functional trait-niche framework with diversification dynamics provides insights into the evolutionary history of tropical forests and helps elucidate the mechanisms underlying the origin and evolution of its spectacular biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Pages (from-to)36-52
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Linnean Society of London. All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • functional traits, geology, leaf mass per area, Marantaceae, speciation

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