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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Gulick, Terri [1], Kellar, Pamela [2].

Phylogenetic diversity across the latitudinal diversity gradient of the North American mixed-grass prairie.

Evolution across time and space has resulted in biologically diverse communities whose species richness typically decreases as distance from the equator increases. Ecologists describe assembly of regional species through colonization, speciation, extinction, and evolution, which are influenced by environmental filtering and niche conservatism. It is hypothesized that many species originated near the equator and radiated to higher latitudes resulting in the increase in species number known as the latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG). Biologists typically quantify the biodiversity in a community with metrics such as species richness (S), abundance, and functional traits, but development of phylogenetic diversity (PD) metrics presents new tools to characterize diversity in a community and test diversity over the LDG incorporating evolutionary history. In this investigation, we combined lists of angiosperms occurring in nine mixed-grass prairies across North America, downloaded or sequenced three DNA regions (matK, rbcL, and ITS1 & ITS2) for 2583 plant species, and estimated a maximum likelihood phylogeny. We calculated four PD metrics and two traditional diversity indices for each community and used the results to examine the relationship between S and PD and to define community assembly (clustering or overdispersion) over latitude. PD was correlated with S and did not decrease with increasing latitude. These results and others like them will broaden our understanding of the distribution of diversity across the globe, aiding ecologists with investigations and conservation biologists in decision-making.

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1 - University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE, 68182, United States
2 - University Of Nebraska At Omaha, Biology, 6001 Dodge St. - AH 521C, Omaha, NE, 68182, United States

diversity metrics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 40, Conservation Biology I
Location: 106/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Time: 9:30 AM
Number: 40005
Abstract ID:437
Candidate for Awards:None

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