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Areas of endemism persist through time: A palaeoclimatic analysis in the Mexican Transition Zone

Pinilla‐Buitrago, Gonzalo E., Escalante, Tania, Gutiérrez‐Velázquez, Ana, Reyes‐Castillo, Pedro, Rojas‐Soto, Octavio R.
Journal of biogeography 2018 v.45 no.4 pp. 952-961
Coleoptera, biogeography, climate, indigenous species, mammals, models, niches, species diversity, Arctic region, Central America, Mexico
AIM: The Mexican Transition Zone (MTZ) is an area where the Nearctic and Neotropical biogeographical regions overlap, generating high species richness and endemism. The objective of this study was to analyse if potential changes in the composition and the geographical location of areas of endemism (AEs) for beetles and mammals during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), the mid‐Holocene (MH) or the Last Interglacial (LIG) have influenced the definition of the MTZ in the present. LOCATION: Mexico and Central America. METHODS: Ecological niche models (ENM) were generated describing the current distribution of 218 species associated with the MTZ and then transferred to three periods into the past. A parsimony analysis of endemicity (PAE) was run to identify current AEs. The transferred models of each set of species that form the current AEs were used to assess if the geographical ranges of the species’ ecological niches changed over time, or whether they remained stable supporting the validation of the AEs during three past recent periods (LGM, MH and LIG). RESULTS: Two current AEs were detected that persisted geographically during the three past periods (LGM, MH and LIG). MAIN CONCLUSIONS: The results show that some AEs change through time as a response of climate, whereas others remained stable. Thus, the MTZ could be considered as a dynamic zone at least over the last 130,000 years. The climate analysis of the AEs allows them to be recognized either as true spatio‐temporal units, or as temporarily restricted patterns of co‐distribution resulting from changes in climate over time.