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Spatial patterns of phylogenetic diversity and endemism in the Western Ghats, India: A case study using ancient predatory arthropods

Bharti, DK and Edgecombe, GD and Karanth, KP and Joshi, J (2021) Spatial patterns of phylogenetic diversity and endemism in the Western Ghats, India: A case study using ancient predatory arthropods. In: Ecology and Evolution .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8119


The Western Ghats (WG) mountain chain in peninsular India is a global biodiversity hotspot, one in which patterns of phylogenetic diversity and endemism remain to be documented across taxa. We used a well-characterized community of ancient soil predatory arthropods from the WG to understand diversity gradients, identify hotspots of endemism and conservation importance, and highlight poorly studied areas with unique biodiversity. We compiled an occurrence dataset for 19 species of scolopendrid centipedes, which was used to predict areas of habitat suitability using bioclimatic and geomorphological variables in Maxent. We used predicted distributions and a time-calibrated species phylogeny to calculate taxonomic and phylogenetic indices of diversity, endemism, and turnover. We observed a decreasing latitudinal gradient in taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity in the WG, which supports expectations from the latitudinal diversity gradient. The southern WG had the highest phylogenetic diversity and endemism, and was represented by lineages with long branch lengths as observed from relative phylogenetic diversity/endemism. These results indicate the persistence of lineages over evolutionary time in the southern WG and are consistent with predictions from the southern WG refuge hypothesis. The northern WG, despite having low phylogenetic diversity, had high values of phylogenetic endemism represented by distinct lineages as inferred from relative phylogenetic endemism. The distinct endemic lineages in this subregion might be adapted to life in lateritic plateaus characterized by poor soil conditions and high seasonality. Sites across an important biogeographic break, the Palghat Gap, broadly grouped separately in comparisons of species turnover along the WG. The southern WG and Nilgiris, adjoining the Palghat Gap, harbor unique centipede communities, where the causal role of climate or dispersal barriers in shaping diversity remains to be investigated. Our results highlight the need to use phylogeny and distribution data while assessing diversity and endemism patterns in the WG. © 2021 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Authors
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 08:54
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2021 08:54
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/70652

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