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Frontiers of Biogeography

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perspective: Causes and consequences of range size variation: the influence of traits, speciation, and extinction


The tremendous variation in species richness observed among related clades across the tree of life has long caught the imagination of biologists. Recently, there has been growing attention paid to the possible contribution of range size variation, either alone or in combination with putative key innovations, to these patterns. Here, we review three related topics relevant to range size evolution, speciation, and extinction. First, we provide a brief overview of the debate surrounding patterns and mechanisms for phylogenetic signal in range size. Second, we discuss some recent findings regarding the joint influence of traits and range size on diversification. Finally, we present the preliminary results of a study investigating whether range size is negatively correlated with contemporary extinction risk in flowering plants.

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