Geological and climatic processes potentially alter speciation rates by generating and modifying barriers to dispersal. In Southeast Asia, two processes have substantially altered the distribution of land. Volcanic uplift produced many new islands during the Miocene–Pliocene and repeated sea level fluctuations during the Pleistocene resulted in intermittent land connections among islands. Each process represents a potential driver of diversification. We use a phylogenetic analysis of a group of Southeast Asian shrews (Crocidura) to examine geographic and temporal processes of diversification. In general, diversification has taken place in allopatry following the colonization of new areas. Sulawesi provides an exception, where we cannot reject within‐island speciation for a clade of eight sympatric and syntopic species. We find only weak support for temporally declining diversification rates, implying that neither volcanic uplift nor sea level fluctuations had a strong effect on diversification rates. We suggest that dynamic archipelagos continually offer new opportunities for allopatric diversification, thereby sustaining high speciation rates over long periods of time, or Southeast Asian shrews represent an immature radiation on a density‐dependent trajectory that has yet to fill geographic and ecological space.
Evolution – Wiley
Published: Oct 1, 2009
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