Elucidating the geographical history of diversification is critical for inferring where future diversification may occur and thus could be a valuable aid in determining conservation priorities. However, it has been difficult to recognize areas with a higher likelihood of promoting diversification. We reconstructed centres of origin of lineages and identified areas in the Mexican tropical dry forest that have been important centres of diversification (sources) and areas where species are maintained but where diversification is less likely to occur (diversity sinks). We used a molecular phylogeny of the genus Bursera, a dominant member of the forest, along with information on current species distributions. Results indicate that vast areas of the forest have historically functioned as diversity sinks, generating few or no extant Bursera lineages. Only a few areas have functioned as major engines of diversification. Long-term preservation of biodiversity may be promoted by incorporation of such knowledge in decision-making.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)