Project groups


The role of climate dynamics on species diversification has been in the centre of debate for several years. Although some studies suggest that climatic changes triggered biological diversification, there has not been a rigorous way to test this association. In this project we develop a novel approach to establish or reject such a link in a statistically rigorous framework. Using time calibrated molecular phylogenies and high resolution paleoclimatic data, we apply model selection statistics to compare competing climatic scenarios that could have triggered phylogenetic diversification in several taxa, as an alternative to traditional null-hypothesis testing methods. Model selection will also be applied to uncover, from an integrative perspective the factors determining the range limits of selected taxa. This is essential knowledge to understand shifts in geographic distribution induced by climate change.


Zarza, E., Reynoso, V.H. & B.C. Emerson (2011) : Discordant patterns of geographic variation between mitochondrial and microsatellite markers in the Mexican black iguana (Ctenosaura pectinata) in a contact zone. - Journal of Biogeography 38: 1394-1405.