Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 433334
Title Specialists leave fewer descendants within a region than generalists
Author(s) Ozinga, W.A.; Colles, A.; Bartish, I.V.; Hennekens, S.M.; Schaminee, J.H.J.; Prinzing, A.
Source Global Ecology and Biogeography 22 (2013). - ISSN 1466-822X - p. 213 - 222.
Department(s) Alterra - Vegetation, forest and landscape ecology
Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology
Centre for Ecosystem Studies
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Abstract Current conservation biology suggests that across ecological time-scales specialist species existing in the recent past have left on average fewer descendant populations today than generalist species. Conversely, the speciation literature suggests that on an evolutionary time-scale specialists leave as many or more descendant lineages as generalists, i.e. they have high rates of global diversification. This begs the question: which of these two processes has more influence on the regional scale, i.e. do specialists leave more or fewer descendants than generalists within a region? Location The flora of the Netherlands. Methods We quantified niche volume of 707 plant species from coexistence data and ecological indicator values and used sister taxon comparisons to compare specialist and generalist sister taxa for the relative numbers of descendants across three temporal scales: ecological, microevolutionary and macroevolutionary. We show, first, that specialist species are more likely to be currently declining, i.e. to leave only few descendant populations. Second, specialists are less likely to be currently diversifying into intra-specific taxa. Finally, most specialist clades left fewer descendant species within a region than their generalist sister clades. These results were consistent across sublineages, unbiased by geographic sampling of lineages and environments, and held after accounting for species life histories. Differences between specialist and generalist sister clades increased with clade age, suggesting that they reflect differences in rates at which specialists left descendants (rather than differences in ecological limits to the numbers of specialists and generalists). Main conclusionsSpecialists left only few descendants within a region (i.e. the Netherlands), both at ecological, microevolutionary and macroevolutionary scales. While specialists may leave numerous evolutionary descendants at a global scale, these might be absent from most regions. Humans, by threatening specialist species, may hence further accelerate biotic homogenization with descendants of generalist lineages proliferating within regions while specialist lineages disappear.
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