Phylogeny and palaeoecology of polyommatus blue butterflies show beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the new world

Roger Vila, Charles D. Bell, Richard Macniven, Benjamin Goldman-Huertas, Richard H. Ree, Charles R. Marshall, Z. Bálint, Kurt Johnson, Dubi Benyamini, Naomi E. Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Transcontinental dispersals by organisms usually represent improbable events that constitute a major challenge for biogeographers. By integrating molecular phylogeny, historical biogeography and palaeoecology, we test a bold hypothesis proposed by Vladimir Nabokov regarding the origin of Neotropical Polyommatus blue butterflies, and show that Beringia has served as a biological corridor for the dispersal of these insects from Asia into the New World. We present a novel method to estimate ancestral temperature tolerances using distribution range limits of extant organisms, and find that climatic conditions in Beringia acted as a decisive filter in determining which taxa crossed into the New World during five separate invasions over the past 11 Myr. Our results reveal a marked effect of the Miocene-Pleistocene global cooling, and demonstrate that palaeoclimatic conditions left a strong signal on the ecology of present-day taxa in the New World. The phylogenetic conservatism in thermal tolerances that we have identified may permit the reconstruction of the palaeoecology of ancestral organisms, especially mobile taxa that can easily escape from hostile environments rather than adapt to them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2737-2744
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume278
Issue number1719
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 22 2011

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Beringia
Butterflies
paleoecology
Politics
Phylogeny
Ecology
Climate
butterfly
butterflies
Insects
phylogeny
climate
Temperature
organisms
biological corridors
temperature tolerance
Cooling
heat tolerance
new taxa
biogeography

Keywords

  • Beringia
  • Biogeography
  • Climate change
  • Lycaenidae
  • Nabokov
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Phylogeny and palaeoecology of polyommatus blue butterflies show beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the new world. / Vila, Roger; Bell, Charles D.; Macniven, Richard; Goldman-Huertas, Benjamin; Ree, Richard H.; Marshall, Charles R.; Bálint, Z.; Johnson, Kurt; Benyamini, Dubi; Pierce, Naomi E.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 278, No. 1719, 22.09.2011, p. 2737-2744.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vila, R, Bell, CD, Macniven, R, Goldman-Huertas, B, Ree, RH, Marshall, CR, Bálint, Z, Johnson, K, Benyamini, D & Pierce, NE 2011, 'Phylogeny and palaeoecology of polyommatus blue butterflies show beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the new world', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 278, no. 1719, pp. 2737-2744. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2010.2213
Vila, Roger ; Bell, Charles D. ; Macniven, Richard ; Goldman-Huertas, Benjamin ; Ree, Richard H. ; Marshall, Charles R. ; Bálint, Z. ; Johnson, Kurt ; Benyamini, Dubi ; Pierce, Naomi E. / Phylogeny and palaeoecology of polyommatus blue butterflies show beringia was a climate-regulated gateway to the new world. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2011 ; Vol. 278, No. 1719. pp. 2737-2744.
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