Abstract

The path of species diversification is commonly observed by inspecting the fossil record. Yet, how species diversity changes at geological timescales relate to lower-level processes remains poorly understood. Here we use mathematical models of spatially structured populations to show that natural selection and gradual environmental change give rise to discontinuous phenotype changes that can be connected to speciation and extinction at the macroevolutionary level. In our model, new phenotypes arise in the middle of the environmental gradient, while newly appearing environments are filled by existing phenotypes shifting their adaptive optima. Slow environ- mental change leads to loss of phenotypes in the middle of the extant environmental range, whereas fast change causes extinction at one extreme of the environmental range. We compared our model predictions against a well-known yet partially unexplained pattern of intense hoofed mammal diversification associated with grassland expansion during the Late Miocene. We additionally used the model out- comes to cast new insight into Cope’s law of the unspecialized. Our general finding is that the rate of environmental change determines where generation and loss of diversity occur in the phenotypic and physical spaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume186
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)742-754
Number of pages13
ISSN0003-0147
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1171 Geosciences

Cite this

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title = "Modeling the Population-Level Processes of Biodiversity Gain and Loss at Geological Timescales",
abstract = "The path of species diversification is commonly observed by inspecting the fossil record. Yet, how species diversity changes at geological timescales relate to lower-level processes remains poorly understood. Here we use mathematical models of spatially structured populations to show that natural selection and gradual environmental change give rise to discontinuous phenotype changes that can be connected to speciation and extinction at the macroevolutionary level. In our model, new phenotypes arise in the middle of the environmental gradient, while newly appearing environments are filled by existing phenotypes shifting their adaptive optima. Slow environ- mental change leads to loss of phenotypes in the middle of the extant environmental range, whereas fast change causes extinction at one extreme of the environmental range. We compared our model predictions against a well-known yet partially unexplained pattern of intense hoofed mammal diversification associated with grassland expansion during the Late Miocene. We additionally used the model out- comes to cast new insight into Cope’s law of the unspecialized. Our general finding is that the rate of environmental change determines where generation and loss of diversity occur in the phenotypic and physical spaces.",
keywords = "1171 Geosciences",
author = "Fortelius, {Hannu Lennart Mikael} and Geritz, {Stefanus Antonius Hendri} and Gyllenberg, {Mats Anders Gideon} and Pasquale Raia and Toivonen, {Jaakko Tapio}",
year = "2015",
doi = "10.1086/683660",
language = "English",
volume = "186",
pages = "742--754",
journal = "American Naturalist",
issn = "0003-0147",
publisher = "The University of Chicago Press",
number = "6",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Modeling the Population-Level Processes of Biodiversity Gain and Loss at Geological Timescales

AU - Fortelius, Hannu Lennart Mikael

AU - Geritz, Stefanus Antonius Hendri

AU - Gyllenberg, Mats Anders Gideon

AU - Raia, Pasquale

AU - Toivonen, Jaakko Tapio

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - The path of species diversification is commonly observed by inspecting the fossil record. Yet, how species diversity changes at geological timescales relate to lower-level processes remains poorly understood. Here we use mathematical models of spatially structured populations to show that natural selection and gradual environmental change give rise to discontinuous phenotype changes that can be connected to speciation and extinction at the macroevolutionary level. In our model, new phenotypes arise in the middle of the environmental gradient, while newly appearing environments are filled by existing phenotypes shifting their adaptive optima. Slow environ- mental change leads to loss of phenotypes in the middle of the extant environmental range, whereas fast change causes extinction at one extreme of the environmental range. We compared our model predictions against a well-known yet partially unexplained pattern of intense hoofed mammal diversification associated with grassland expansion during the Late Miocene. We additionally used the model out- comes to cast new insight into Cope’s law of the unspecialized. Our general finding is that the rate of environmental change determines where generation and loss of diversity occur in the phenotypic and physical spaces.

AB - The path of species diversification is commonly observed by inspecting the fossil record. Yet, how species diversity changes at geological timescales relate to lower-level processes remains poorly understood. Here we use mathematical models of spatially structured populations to show that natural selection and gradual environmental change give rise to discontinuous phenotype changes that can be connected to speciation and extinction at the macroevolutionary level. In our model, new phenotypes arise in the middle of the environmental gradient, while newly appearing environments are filled by existing phenotypes shifting their adaptive optima. Slow environ- mental change leads to loss of phenotypes in the middle of the extant environmental range, whereas fast change causes extinction at one extreme of the environmental range. We compared our model predictions against a well-known yet partially unexplained pattern of intense hoofed mammal diversification associated with grassland expansion during the Late Miocene. We additionally used the model out- comes to cast new insight into Cope’s law of the unspecialized. Our general finding is that the rate of environmental change determines where generation and loss of diversity occur in the phenotypic and physical spaces.

KW - 1171 Geosciences

U2 - 10.1086/683660

DO - 10.1086/683660

M3 - Article

VL - 186

SP - 742

EP - 754

JO - American Naturalist

JF - American Naturalist

SN - 0003-0147

IS - 6

ER -