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Do mountains affect global diversity?

Manuel Steinbauer1
1 Department of Biogeography, University of Bayreuth

O 2.1 in …We collaborate with other disciplines and learn from each other.

02.10.2014, 14:10-14:25, H36, NW III

On oceanic islands with high mountains, an increase in the percentage of endemic species with elevation can be demonstrated. It likely results from a higher isolation of high elevation ecosystems when compared to low elevation ecosystems. This is the case as high elevation ecosystems are geographically and ecologically more isolated from comparable ecosystem and smaller in area than their low elevation counterparts. This makes genetic exchange between populations on neighbouring islands or the continent less likely, positively influencing speciation.

I will demonstrate that topography-driven ecological isolation is a globally relevant mechanism driving evolution. The effect of isolation on global patterns in diversity may be currently underestimated and needs further investigation.

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last modified 2014-09-15