The Effects of Biogeography and Biotic Interactions on Lemur Community Assembly

The Effects of Biogeography and Biotic Interactions on Lemur Community Assembly Geographic patterns of biodiversity result from broad-scale biogeographic and present-day ecological processes. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative importance of biogeographic history and ecology driving patterns of diversity in modern primate communities in Madagascar. I collected data on endemic lemur species co-occurrence from range maps and survey literature for 100 communities in protected areas. I quantified and compared taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional dimensions of intra- and intersite diversity. I tested environmental and geographic predictors of diversity and endemism. I calculated deforestation rates within protected areas between the years 2000 and 2014, and tested if diversity is related to forest cover and loss. I found the phylogenetic structure of lemur communities could be explained primarily by remotely sensed plant productivity, supporting the hypothesis that there was ecological differentiation among ecoregions, while functional-trait disparity was not strongly related to environment. Taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity also increased with increasing topographic heterogeneity. Beta diversity was explained by both differences in ecology among localities and potential river barriers. Approximately 3000 km2 were deforested in protected areas since the year 2000, threatening the most diverse communities (up to 31%/park). The strong positive association of plant productivity and topographic heterogeneity with lemur diversity indicates that high productivity, rugged landscapes support greater diversity. Both ecology and river barriers influenced lemur community ecology and biogeography. These results underscore the need for focused conservation efforts to slow the loss of irreplaceable evolutionary and ecological diversity. International Journal of Primatology Springer Journals

The Effects of Biogeography and Biotic Interactions on Lemur Community Assembly

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Springer US
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Life Sciences; Evolutionary Biology; Zoology; Animal Genetics and Genomics; Anthropology; Animal Ecology; Human Genetics
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