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Species can speed up his evolution changing their behaviors

Differential coexistence among species underlies geographical patterns of biodiversity. Understanding such patterns has relied either on ecological or historical approaches applied separately. Recently, macroecology and community phylogenetics have tried to integrate both ecological and historical approaches. However, macroecology is mostly non-phylogenetic, whereas community phylogenetics is largely focused on local scales. Here, we propose a conceptual framework to link macroecology and community phylogenetics by exploring the evolutionary context of large-scale species coexistence, introducing the phylogenetic field concept. This is defined as the phylogenetic structure of species co-occurrence within a focal species’ geographical range. We developed concepts and methods for analysing phylogenetic fields and applied them to study coexistence patterns of the bat family Phyllostomidae. Our analyses showed that phyllostomid bats coexist mostly with closely related species, revealing a north–south gradient from overdispersed to clustered phylogenetic fields. Patterns at different phylogenetic levels (i.e. all species versus close relatives only) presented the same gradient. Results support the tropical niche conservatism hypothesis, potentially mediated by higher speciation rates in the region of origin coupled with shared environmental preferences among species. The phylogenetic field approach enables species-based community phylogenetics, instead of those that are site-based, allowing the description of historical processes at more appropriate macroecological and biogeographic scales…>>>more

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