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Biology Articles » Biogeography » New solutions to old problems: widespread taxa, redundant distributions and missing areas in event–based biogeography

Abstract
- New solutions to old problems: widespread taxa, redundant distributions and missing areas in event–based biogeography

New solutions to old problems: widespread taxa, redundant distributions and missing areas in event–based biogeography

I. Sanmartín* & F. Ronquist

Isabel Sanmartín & Fredrik Ronquist, Dept. of Systematic Zoology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala Univ., Norbyvägen 18D, SE–752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.

* Corresponding author: Isabel Sanmartin, Dept. of Systematic Zoology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala Univ., Norbyvägen 18D, SE–752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.

E–mail: isabel.sanmartin@ebc.uu.se

New solutions to old problems: widespread taxa, redundant distributions and missing areas in event–based biogeography.— Area cladograms are widely used in historical biogeography to summarize area relationships. Constructing such cladograms is complicated by the existence of widespread taxa (terminal taxa distributed in more than one area), redundant distributions (areas harboring more than one taxon) and missing areas (areas of interest absent from some of the compared cladograms). These problems have traditionally been dealt with using Assumptions 0, 1, and 2, but the assumptions are inapplicable to event–based methods of biogeographic analysis because they do not specify the costs of alternative solutions and may result in non–overlapping solution sets. The present paper presents the argument that only widespread terminals pose a problem to event–based methods, and three possible solutions are described. Under the recent option, the widespread distribution is assumed to be the result of recent dispersal. The ancient option assumes that the widespread distribution is the result of a failure to vicariate, and explains any mismatch between the distribution and the area cladogram by extinction. The free option treats the widespread taxon as an unresolved higher taxon consisting of one lineage occurring in each area, and permits any combination of events and any resolution of the terminal polytomy in explaining the widespread distribution. Algorithms implementing these options are described and applied to Rosen (1978)’s classical data set on Heterandria and Xiphophorus. Key words: Historical biogeography, Widespread taxa, Missing areas, Redundant distributions, Assumptions 0, 1, and 2.

Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 25.2: 75–93. Open Access Article.


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