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  1. Abstract Aim

    Are different fruit colours related to large‐scale patterns of dispersal, distribution and diversification? Here, we investigate this question for the first time, using phylogenetic approaches in the tribe Gaultherieae (Ericaceae). We test relationships between fruit colour and (a) biogeographic dispersal, (b) elevational and latitudinal species distributions and (c) rates of diversification.

    Location

    Global.

    Time period

    Recent to 30 million years ago.

    Major taxa studied

    The plant tribe Gaultherieae in the family Ericaceae (blueberries and relatives).

    Methods

    We estimated a new time‐calibrated phylogeny for Gaultherieae. Data on fruit colours and geographic distributions for each species were compiled from published sources and field observations. Using phylogenetic methods, we estimated major dispersal events across the tree and the most likely fruit colour associated with each dispersal event, and tested whether dispersal between major biogeographic regions was equally likely for different fruit colours, and whether dispersal distances were larger for certain colours. We then tested the relationships between fruit colours and geographic variables (latitude, elevation) and diversification rates.

    Results

    Large‐scale dispersal events were significantly associated with red‐fruited lineages, even though red‐fruited species were relatively uncommon. Further, different fruit colours were associated with different elevations and latitudes (e.g. red at lower elevations, violet at lower latitudes, white at higher elevations). Violet colour was related to increased diversification rates, leading to more violet‐fruited species globally.

    Main conclusions

    Overall, we show that different fruit colours can significantly impact the large‐scale dispersal, distribution and diversification of plant clades. Furthermore, the interplay between biogeography and fruit‐colour evolution seems to generate “taxon cycles” in fruit colour that may drive variation in fruit colour over macroevolutionary time‐scales.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Around the world, many species are confined to “Sky Islands,” with different populations in isolated patches of montane habitat. How does this pattern arise? One scenario is that montane species were widespread in lowlands when climates were cooler, and were isolated by local extinction caused by warming conditions. This scenario implies that many montane species may be highly susceptible to anthropogenic warming. Here, we test this scenario in a montane lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) from the Madrean Sky Islands of southeastern Arizona. We combined data from field surveys, climate, population genomics, and physiology. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that this species' current distribution is explained by local extinction caused by past climate change. However, our results for this species differ from simple expectations in several ways: (a) their absence at lower elevations is related to warm winter temperatures, not hot summer temperatures; (b) they appear to exclude a low‐elevation congener from higher elevations, not the converse; (c) they are apparently absent from many climatically suitable but low mountain ranges, seemingly “pushed off the top” by climates even warmer than those today; (d) despite the potential for dispersal among ranges during recent glacial periods (~18,000 years ago), populations in different ranges diverged ~4.5–0.5 million years ago and remained largely distinct; and (e) body temperatures are inversely related to climatic temperatures among sites. These results may have implications for many other Sky Island systems. More broadly, we suggest that Sky Island species may be relevant for predicting responses to future warming.

     
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  3. The majority of animal species have complex life cycles, in which larval stages may have very different morphologies and ecologies relative to adults. Anurans (frogs) provide a particularly striking example. However, the extent to which larval and adult morphologies (e.g. body size) are correlated among species has not been broadly tested in any major group. Recent studies have suggested that larval and adult morphology are evolutionarily decoupled in frogs, but focused within families and did not compare the evolution of body sizes. Here, we test for correlated evolution of adult and larval body size across 542 species from 42 families, including most families with a tadpole stage. We find strong phylogenetic signal in larval and adult body sizes, and find that both traits are significantly and positively related across frogs. However, this relationship varies dramatically among clades, from strongly positive to weakly negative. Furthermore, rates of evolution for both variables are largely decoupled among clades. Thus, some clades have high rates of adult body-size evolution but low rates in tadpole body size (and vice versa). Overall, we show for the first time that body sizes are generally related between adult and larval stages across a major group, even as evolutionary rates of larval and adult size are largely decoupled among species and clades. 
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  4. Abstract Alignment is a crucial issue in molecular phylogenetics because different alignment methods can potentially yield very different topologies for individual genes. But it is unclear if the choice of alignment methods remains important in phylogenomic analyses, which incorporate data from dozens, hundreds, or thousands of genes. For example, problematic biases in alignment might be multiplied across many loci, whereas alignment errors in individual genes might become irrelevant. The issue of alignment trimming (i.e. removing poorly aligned regions or missing data from individual genes) is also poorly explored. Here, we test the impact of 12 different combinations of alignment and trimming methods on phylogenomic analyses. We compare these methods using published phylogenomic data from ultraconserved elements (UCEs) from squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes), birds, and tetrapods. We compare the properties of alignments generated by different alignment and trimming methods (e.g., length, informative sites, missing data). We also test whether these datasets can recover well-established clades when analyzed with concatenated (RAxML) and species-tree methods (ASTRAL-III), using the full data (∼5,000 loci) and subsampled datasets (10% and 1% of loci). We show that different alignment and trimming methods can significantly impact various aspects of phylogenomic datasets (e.g. length, informative sites). However, these different methods generally had little impact on the recovery and support values for well-established clades, even across very different numbers of loci. Nevertheless, our results suggest several “best practices” for alignment and trimming. Intriguingly, the choice of phylogenetic methods impacted the results most strongly, with concatenated analyses recovering significantly more well-established clades (with stronger support) than the species-tree analyses. 
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  5. Understanding rates and patterns of change in physiological and climatic-niche variables is of urgent importance as many species are increasingly threatened by rising global temperatures. Here, we broadly test several fundamental hypotheses about physiological and niche evolution for the first time (with appropriate phylogenetic methods), using published data from 2059 vertebrate species. Our main results show that: (i) physiological tolerances to heat evolve more slowly than those to cold, (ii) the hottest climatic-niche temperatures change more slowly than the coldest climatic-niche temperatures, and (iii) physiological tolerances to heat and cold evolve more slowly than the corresponding climatic-niche variables. Physiological tolerances are significantly and positively related to the corresponding climatic-niche variables, but species often occur in climates outside the range of these tolerances. However, mismatches between climate and physiology do not necessarily mean that the climatic-niche data are misleading. Instead, some standard physiological variables used in vertebrates (i.e. critical thermal maxima and minima) may reflect when species are active (daily, seasonally) and their local-scale microhabitats (sun versus shade), rather than their large-scale climatic distributions. 
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