A dynamic continental moisture gradient drove Amazonian bird diversification

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Science Advances  03 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaat5752
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5752


The Amazon is the primary source of Neotropical diversity and a nexus for discussions on processes that drive biotic diversification. Biogeographers have focused on the roles of rivers and Pleistocene climate change in explaining high rates of speciation. We combine phylogeographic and niche-based paleodistributional projections for 23 upland terra firme forest bird lineages from across the Amazon to derive a new model of regional biological diversification. We found that climate-driven refugial dynamics interact with dynamic riverine barriers to produce a dominant pattern: Older lineages in the wetter western and northern parts of the Amazon gave rise to lineages in the drier southern and eastern parts. This climate/drainage basin evolution interaction links landscape dynamics with biotic diversification and explains the east-west diversity gradients across the Amazon.

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