Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Environmental factors related to biogeographical transition zones of areas of endemism of Neotropical mammals

Elkin Alexi Noguera-Urbano A B and Ignacio Ferro C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Posgrado en Ciencias Biológicas, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, Mexico City, Mexico.

B Grupo de Investigación en Biogeografía de la Conservación, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, Mexico City, Mexico.

C Instituto de Ecorregiones Andinas (INECOA), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Universidad Nacional de Jujuy (UNJu), Avenida Bolivia 1239, CP, 4600, San Salvador de Jujuy, Jujuy, Argentina.

D Corresponding author. Email: ignacioferro@gmail.com

Australian Systematic Botany 30(6) 485-494 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB16055
Submitted: 30 November 2016  Accepted: 24 July 2017   Published: 31 January 2018

Abstract

Biogeographical transition zones are areas of a complex biotic mixture located at the borders between biogeographical units. Climatic, physical and ecological factors should play an important role in allowing coexistence of different biotic elements in the transition zone. Here, we explore the relationship between environmental factors and biogeographical transition zones, defined by Neotropical mammal distributions, by a model selection approach based on the Akaike information criterion and accounting for the spatial structure in the data. We detected three areas of high overlap between mammalian areas of endemism. Two of them corresponded to the well-established regional-level transition zones, namely Mexican (MTZ) and South American (SATZ) transition zones; the third was one located in south-eastern Brazil, approximately between the Paraná and Chacoan dominion that we call The Atlantic Forest integration zone (AF). Only one explicative variable was shared by the three transitions zones (precipitation of the warmest quarter). However, shared variables with great explanatory power indicated two environmental aspects as facilitators for the coexistence of different biotic components in a given geographical area. The first one was the heterogeneity component, either topographic for the SATZ and MTZ or climatic for the AF. The second one was related non-extreme thermal conditions: precipitation of the warmest quarter, interpreted as a thermal buffer, shared by AF and SATZ, and isothermality shared by MTZ and SATZ.


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