Speciation and extinction in the Greater Cape Floristic Region

Allan G. Ellis, G. Anthony Verboom, Timotheus van der Niet, Steven D. Johnson and H. Peter Linder

in Fynbos

Published in print September 2014 | ISBN: 9780199679584
Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191791949 | DOI:
Speciation and extinction in the Greater Cape Floristic Region

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As diversity accumulation reflects the balance between speciation and extinction through time, the high biotic diversity of the Cape likely results from high speciation and/or low extinction rates. In the past century numerous authors have speculated about the extrinsic aspects of the Cape environment or the intrinsic properties of its biota which may have tipped the scales towards continued diversification. Usually some combination of complex environmental conditions and relative climatic stability is invoked. This chapter critically assesses the predominant correlative phylogenetic evidence for various drivers of diversification in the Cape but focuses mainly on work from population level studies which more directly addresses the process of speciation itself. Within the ecological speciation theoretical framework factors promoting divergent selection and reducing gene flow between populations are explored. The chapter also reviews the little that is known about extinction in the Cape biota and suggests future research avenues and approaches which will enhance the understanding of the processes that underlie the well-established patterns of hyperdiversity in the Cape.

Keywords: ecological speciation; extinction; diversification; divergent selection; climatic stability

Chapter.  16454 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Pathology and Diseases

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