1932

Abstract

Species diversity is remarkably unevenly distributed among flowering plant lineages. Despite a growing toolbox of research methods, the reasons underlying this patchy pattern have continued to perplex plant biologists for the past two decades. In this review, we examine the present understanding of transitions in flowering plant evolution that have been proposed to influence speciation and extinction. In particular, ploidy changes, transitions between tropical and nontropical biomes, and shifts in floral form have received attention and have offered some surprises in terms of which factors influence speciation and extinction rates. Mating systems and dispersal characteristics once predominated as determining factors, yet recent evidence suggests that these changes are not as influential as previously thought or are important only when paired with range shifts. Although range extent is an important correlate of speciation, it also influences extinction and brings an applied focus to diversification research. Recent studies that find that past diversification can predict present-day extinction risk open an exciting avenue for future research to help guide conservation prioritization.

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2018-04-29
2024-06-17
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