Paleo- and neo-endemism in a Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot

Relative phylogenetic endemism (RPE) is a phylogenetic measure of endemism allowing for differentiation between centres of paleo- and neo-endemism.

Despite the fact that the planet’s remaining hotspot habitats only cover 2·3 % of the land surface, they are home to over 50 % of all vascular plants as endemics

Molina-Venegas et al. apply an RPE analysis to a Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot, together with an assessment of precipitation and temperature related variables and elevation range in order to identifying patterns of plant endemic richness. Clearly differentiated centres of neo- and paleo-endemism are found across the hotspot, encompassing areas where topographical relief may have driven evolutionary diversification of newly evolved species. Water availability is shown to be more critical for the long-term persistence of ancient lineages in refugia regions characterised by smoother topography.

Endemism Hotspots Cover

This article is part of the AoB Special Issue on Endemism Hotspots as Climate Change Refugia, which is free access for a couple of months, then behind the paywall for a while before being free access after February 2017.

Further reading

Molina-Venegas, R., Aparicio, A., Lavergne, S., & Arroyo, J. (2016). Climatic and topographical correlates of plant palaeo- and neoendemism in a Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot. Annals of Botany, 119(2), 229–238.