3. Global macroevolution, macroecology, and biogeography – the big picture

In this third topic studied by the working group of Dr Susanne Fritz, we use global databases and molecular phylogenies of living species to influences of evolutionary history, species’ traits, and current and past environmental variation on present-day patterns of biodiversity. These regional and global studies often focus on new data or methods, specifically how to include phylogenetic and spatial information or tests of data quality for modern occurrence data. Why are some regions so much more species-rich than others? Why do these hotspots of biodiversity coincide for many groups, but not for others? And what are the underlying evolutionary patterns and ecological processes generating and maintaining the astonishing diversity of Life on Earth?

Highlighted publications on global patterns and processes
Tucker, C. M., Cadotte, M. W., Carvalho, S. B., Davies, T. J., Ferrier, S., Fritz, S. A., Grenyer, R., Helmus, M. R., Jin, L. S., Mooers, A. O., Pavoine, S., Purschke, O., Redding, D. W., Rosauer, D. F., Winter, M. & F. Mazel (2017): A guide to phylogenetic metrics for conservation, community ecology and macroecology. - Biological Reviews 92: 698-715.
An in-depth review of different metrics for phylogenetic diversity, with a guide how to use them to address different research questions. This was the output of an interdisciplinary sDiv workshop [link to: www.idiv.de/sdiv] at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research iDiv. See also these follow-up papers: Miller et al. 2017 Ecography and Mazel et al. 2016 BioRxiv

Meyer, C., Jetz, W., Guralnick, R. P., Fritz, S. A. &  H. Kreft (2016): Range geometry and socio‐economics dominate species‐level biases in occurrence information. - Global Ecology and Biogeography 25: 1181-1193.
An evaluation of the publicly available point occurrence information (>4.5 million points) across global mammals (~5000 species), showing that there are severe species-level biases depending on i) range size and shape, ii) socio-economic conditions (in particular the proximity to research institutes), and iii) ecological species traits that influence detection probability, especially body mass and diurnality. A collaboration with colleagues from the University of Göttingen

Weigelt, P., Kissling, W. D., Kisel, Y., Fritz, S. A., Karger, D. N., Kessler, M., Lehtonen, S., Svenning, J.-C. & H. Kreft (2015): Global patterns and drivers of phylogenetic structure in island floras. - Scientific Reports 5: 12213.
A global study on island floras testing the relative influence of dispersal, environmental filtering, and in-situ speciation on phylogenetic assemblage structure; across nearly 400 islands containing >37,000 plant species, we find contrasting trends in the different major plant groups. Another collaboration with colleagues from the University of Göttingen.

Holt*, B. G., Lessard*, J.-P., Borregaard, M. K., Fritz, S. A., Araújo, M. B., Dimitrov, D., Fabre, P.-H., Graham, C. H., Graves, G. R., Jønsson, K. A., Nogués-Bravo, D., Wang, Z., Whittaker, R. J., Fjeldså, J. & C. Rahbek (2013): An update of Wallace’s zoogeographic regions of the world. - Science 339: 74-78.  (* equal contributions)
An update of the global biogeographic regions originally introduced by A. R. Wallace in the 19th century, based on distribution maps and phylogenetic trees of over 20,000 species of terrestrial vertebrates. This was work from Susanne’s postdoc with colleagues from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, and it generated some interesting scientific controversy: comment by Kreft & Jetz 2013  and our response.

Beyond these highlighted publications, Susanne has published on global phylogenetic and biogeographic patterns, including climatic niche conservatism, in mammals and amphibians, as well as the current state and future challenges for macroecology as a field (see her publication list here ). Shan has published on global patterns of parasites and their hosts, as well as on latitudinal gradients and dimensions of diversity in marine bivalves and mammals (see her publication list here ).

Press releases on global patterns and processes
“Wallace’s century-old map of natural world updated” (English), (German)

Other research themes

1. Macroevolution of ecological niches, seasonal migration, and diversification in passerine birds
2. Diversity in time and space: integrating across fossil and living mammalian species
4. Past, current, and future human impacts on biodiversity

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