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The Evolutionary Biology of Species$
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Timothy G. Barraclough

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198749745

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198749745.001.0001

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How does species richness accumulate over time?

How does species richness accumulate over time?

(p.189) 10 How does species richness accumulate over time?
The Evolutionary Biology of Species

Timothy G. Barraclough

Oxford University Press

Species are units for understanding the evolution of diversity over large geographical scales and long timescales. This chapter investigates the processes causing proliferation and demise of species diversity within lineages and regions. Phylogenetic approaches have focused on documenting speciation and extinction rates, but mechanistic theory explaining variation in rates is scarce. Diversity patterns are better explained by geographical and ecological opportunity than by correlates of speciation and extinction rates per se. The neutral theory of biodiversity provides a framework that can be adapted to predict diversity patterns in terms of limits due to competition for space and resources, and species turnover (which cannot be detected directly from phylogenetic trees). These theories bring macroevolutionary and microevolutionary theories closer together. In particular, diversity patterns are the outcome of individual selection and dispersal playing out over long timescales. Some of the processes influencing species patterns can also structure diversity at higher taxonomic levels.

Keywords:   Speciation, extinction, biodiversity, phylogenetics, opportunity, turnover, higher taxa, neutral theory

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