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Laurance W.F.,James Cook University | Laurance W.F.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Carolina Useche D.,Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute | Shoo L.P.,James Cook University | And 52 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2011

Tropical species with narrow elevational ranges may be thermally specialized and vulnerable to global warming. Local studies of distributions along elevational gradients reveal small-scale patterns but do not allow generalizations among geographic regions or taxa. We critically assessed data from 249 studies of species elevational distributions in the American, African, and Asia-Pacific tropics. Of these, 150 had sufficient data quality, sampling intensity, elevational range, and freedom from serious habitat disturbance to permit robust across-study comparisons. We found four main patterns: (1) species classified as elevational specialists (upper- or lower-zone specialists) are relatively more frequent in the American than Asia-Pacific tropics, with African tropics being intermediate; (2) elevational specialists are rare on islands, especially oceanic and smaller continental islands, largely due to a paucity of upper-zone specialists; (3) a relatively high proportion of plants and ectothermic vertebrates (amphibians and reptiles) are upper-zone specialists; and (4) relatively few endothermic vertebrates (birds and mammals) are upper-zone specialists. Understanding these broad-scale trends will help identify taxa and geographic regions vulnerable to global warming and highlight future research priorities. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

Misof B.,Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig ZFMK | Liu S.,China National GeneBank | Meusemann K.,Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig ZFMK | Meusemann K.,CSIRO | And 106 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

Insects are the most speciose group of animals, but the phylogenetic relationships of many major lineages remain unresolved. We inferred the phylogeny of insects from 1478 protein-coding genes. Phylogenomic analyses of nucleotide and amino acid sequences, with site-specific nucleotide or domain-specific amino acid substitution models, produced statistically robust and congruent results resolving previously controversial phylogenetic relationships. We dated the origin of insects to the Early Ordovician [∼479 million years ago (Ma)], of insect flight to the Early Devonian (∼406 Ma), of major extant lineages to the Mississippian (∼345 Ma), and the major diversification of holometabolous insects to the Early Cretaceous. Our phylogenomic study provides a comprehensive reliable scaffold for future comparative analyses of evolutionary innovations among insects. © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.

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