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Neotropical refugia

Bennett, K. D.; Bhagwat, S. A. and Willis, K. J. (2012). Neotropical refugia. The Holocene, 22(11) pp. 1207–1214.

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Patterns of endemism in the Neotropics have been explained by restriction of forest to ‘refugia’ in arid cold-stages of the Quaternary (Haffer J (1969) Speciation in Amazonian forest birds. Science 165: 131–137). The palaeoecological record, however, shows no such forest contraction. We review palaeoecological and phylogenetic data on the response of Neotropical taxa and communities to climatic changes of the Cenozoic. Solar insolation varies over this period with latitude and geography, including shifts in opposite directions between high and low latitudes. In the Neotropics, distribution and abundance patterns originate on a wide range of timescales through the Cenozoic, down to the currently dominant precession forcing (20 kyr). In contrast, distributions and abundances at higher latitudes are controlled by obliquity forcing (40 kyr). The patterns observed by Haffer (1969) are likely derived from pre-Quaternary radiations and are not inconsistent with palaeoecological findings of continuous forest cover in major areas of the Neotropics during the Quaternary. The relative proportions of speciation processes have changed through time between predominantly sympatric to predominantly allopatric depending on the prevailing characteristics of orbitally forced climatic changes. Behaviour of Neotropical organisms and ecosystems on long timescales may be influenced much more by precessional forcing than by the obliquity forcing that controls high-latitude climate change and glaciations.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 The Author(s)
ISSN: 1477-0911
Keywords: Cenozoic; climate change; evolution; Neotropics; palaeoecology; Quaternary
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 36638
Depositing User: Shonil Bhagwat
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2014 13:09
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2020 15:49
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