Zoogeographical regions and geospatial patterns of phylogenetic diversity and endemism of New World bats

27 February 2019

López-Aguirre, Camilo; Hand, Suzanne; Laffan, Shawn; Archer, Michael

The analysis of regional scale patterns of diversity allows insights into the processes that have shaped modern biodiversity at the macro-scale. Previous analyses studying biogeographic regionalisation across different high-level taxa have shown similar trends at a global scale. However, incorporating phylogenetic methods when comparing biogeographic regionalisation between subgroups facilitates identification of mechanisms leading to the biogeographic distribution of specific taxa. We analysed the spatial trends of phylogenetic diversity and phylogenetic endemism of 325 species of New World bats, using updated range maps of the modern distributions. These analyses showed phylogeographic signals that reflect the different evolutionary histories of these families. Zoogeographical zones were detected based on range-weighted phylogenetic turnover. Values of high phylogenetic diversity and endemism were distributed differently across families, suggesting niche conservatism, but a general latitudinal trend of diversity was evident across taxa. Overall, two main bioregions were shared across New World bat taxa (Nearctic and Neotropical), with two additional subregions (Andean and La Platan). We found strong support for an additional transitional zone in the Pacific coast of South America for Emballonuridae and Molossidae. Differences in regionalisation across families indicate that niche conservatism, in situ diversification and dispersal ability are major drivers for the regionalisation of New World bats, within a dual-centre of diversification scenario. We also found strong inter-familial support for an independent Caribbean biogeographic region.