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Integrating community phylogenetics and phylogenetic beta diversity to understand Amazonian trees community assembly: a biogeographical and conservation approach

  • Author(s): Guevara Andino, Juan Ernesto
  • Advisor(s): Fine, Paul V.A.
  • et al.
Abstract

Understanding the tree species composition and turnover in Amazon forests has fascinated ecologists and evolutionary biologists since the first botanical expeditions from the 19th century. More recently, the advent of community phylogenetics and phylogenetic beta diversity methods has been demonstrated to be powerful tools to investigate the patterns and causes of Amazonian tree species assemblies.

However, the lack of a comprehensive sampling of tree species communities using well-standardized taxonomy across gradients of soils, geology and climate has precluded making conclusions about the relative importance of these environmental filters on the patterns of species and lineage composition and turnover. In addition, due to current threats that Amazon forests are experiencing an ecologically informed delineation of floristic boundaries is urgently needed to guide conservation decisions.

In this dissertation, I present the results of intensive floristic sampling at two spatial scales continental and regional, and show that the complementary implementation of phylogenetic beta diversity and community phylogenetics can help us to better describe and analyze floristic patterns of Amazon tree communities. Additionally, I used this combination of methods to determine high priority conservation areas that are currently experiencing severe threats in Ecuador Amazon.

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