Biome shifts and niche evolution in plants

TitleBiome shifts and niche evolution in plants
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsDonoghue MJ, Edwards EJ
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
KeywordsAdaptation, biogeography, climate change, niche conservatism, phylogeny

What factors influence whether a lineage can successfully transition into a

new biome, and why have some biome shifts been more frequent than others?

To orient this line of research we develop a conceptual framework in which

the likelihood of a biome shift is a function of (a) exposure to contrasting

environments over time, (b) the evolutionary accessibility of relevant adaptations,

and (c) changing biotic interactions. We evaluate the literature on

biome shifts in plants in relation to a set of hypotheses on the size, connectedness,

and absolute age of biomes, as well as on the adaptability of particular

lineages and ecological interactions over time. We also critique the phylogenetic

inference of past biomes and a “global” model-based approach to

biome evolution. More robust generalizations about biome shifts will require

detailed studies of well-sampled and well-resolved clades, accounting

for changes in the relevant abiotic and biotic factors through time.