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Do phylogenetically and ecologically delimited adaptive zones affect our inference of age-dependent extinction?

Grant number: 21/04258-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2021
Effective date (End): July 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Theoretical Ecology
Principal researcher:Tiago Bosisio Quental
Grantee:Salatiel Gonçalves Neto
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Biological diversity is unevenly distributed across regions, evolutionary lineages, and through time. The description of how speciation and extinction rates change (through time and among regions or lineages) represents a first attempt to explain biodiversity dynamics, however, we need to understand which factors drive changes in such rates to fully comprehend it. The regulators of biodiversity have been polarized between abiotic (Court Jester hypothesis) versus biotic controls (Red Queen hypothesis). The Red Queen hypothesis (RQH) was first proposed to explain "The Law of Constant Extinction" which states that the probability of extinction is independent of a lineage's age (Van Valen 1973). According to the RQH, within a given adaptive zone, lineages must continually evolve to keep up with the changing environment. This suggests a memoryless struggle for existence and hence no advantage related to the lineage's age. After Van Valen's seminal work, the vast majority of studies showed age-dependent extinction at the species level. Most of those studies delimited their pool of species phylogenetically or taxonomically. In this project, we will test the hypothesis of age-dependent extinction for Canidae delimiting adaptive zones not phylogenetically or taxonomically, but ecologically. By doing this, we expect species to more strongly "perceive each other", and hence, more strongly influence their probability of extinction. Differences in ecology have been shown to affect extinction probabilities, hence we expect that incorporating ecology when trying to detect age (in)dependent extinction will be important. We will use Canidae fossil occurrence data from online databases and the primary literature to characterize the ecology of extinct species. (AU)

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