Encontros Scientia

Functional diversity in mammal assemblages increases with multi-million year climatic stability word-wide

Marco Girardello

Section for Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

Understanding how current and historical climatic conditions affect geographical patterns of diversity is a fundamental question in biogeography. Deep-time climatic changes have caused extinction, speciation, and range dynamics. However, the influence of multimillion-year paleoclimatic changes on of present-day patterns in functional diversity patterns remains virtually unexplored. Using climate reconstructions from the Miocene, Pliocene and the Last Glacial, I quantified the relative importance of current environment, biogeographic regions, and past climatic changes for global patterns in mammal functional diversity. I found that current functional diversity is partially linked to climatic stability since the Miocene and with weaker, but also important links to Quaternary glacial-interglacial climatic oscillations. Additionally I found that functional diversity exhibited strong variation among biogeographic regions, supporting the role of evolutionary and biogeographic history in structuring broad-scale patterns in functional diversity. Overall, the results indicate that past climate changes have left moderate multimillion-year disequilibrium legacies in contemporary mammal functional diversity, supplementing strong relations to current environment and strong differences among biogeographic regions. 

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

FCUL (Building C2), 12h00-13h00, room 2.2.14

Videoconference from Azores


About Marco Girardello:

Marco's research interests lie at the interface between macroecology and conservation biology, with the study of spatial biodiversity patterns as the unifying theme. After undertaking a PhD at the University of Newcastle upon tyne, he worked as a quantitative ecologist at the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, before taking up a short-term postdoc position at CNRS in France, followed by a two-year postdoc in Denmark. His past work has mostly focused on the determinants of insect abundance and distribution, but the taxonomic spread of his research is continually expanding. His main work, during the last two years, has focused on quantifying the influence of climatic stability, shared ancestry and dispersal limitations on the geographical patterns in global mammal functional diversity.