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Range Size: Disentangling Current Traits and Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Factors

Katrin Böhning‐Gaese, Tanja Caprano, Karin van Ewijk and Michael Veith
The American Naturalist
Vol. 167, No. 4 (April 2006), pp. 555-567
DOI: 10.1086/501078
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/501078
Page Count: 13
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Range Size: Disentangling Current Traits and Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Factors
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Abstract

Abstract: The range size of a species can be determined by its current traits and by phylogenetic and biogeographic factors. However, only rarely have these factors been studied in combination. We use data on the geographic range sizes of all 26 Sylvia warblers to explicitly test whether range size was determined by current species‐specific traits (e.g., body size, dispersal ability), phylogenetic factors (e.g., age of the lineage), or environmental, biogeographic factors (e.g., latitudinal position of the range). The results demonstrated that current traits and phylogenetic and biogeographic factors were interrelated. While a number of factors were significant in simple regression analyses, only one factor determined range size in the multiple regression analyses—dispersal ability. Species with better dispersal ability had larger ranges than species with poorer dispersal ability. Apparent increases of range size with latitude or with the age of the species resulted from correlations with dispersal ability. While the most significant factor that influences the range size of a group of species might differ from one group to the next, these results demonstrate that studies that focus only on a single, for example, phylogenetic, factor might yield misleading results.

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