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Range restricted old and young lineages show the southern Western Ghats to be both a museum and a cradle of diversity for woody plants

ABHISHEK GOPAL, D. K. BHARTI1, NAVENDU PAGE, KYLE G. DEXTER, RAMANATHAN KRISHNAMANI, AJITH KUMAR & JAHNAVI JOSHI

PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B: BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 290(1997):  1-11 (with Supplementary Materials).

2023

Abstract

The Western Ghats (WG) mountain chain is a global biodiversity hotspot with high diversity and endemicity of woody plants. The latitudinal breadth of the WG offers an opportunity to determine the evolutionary drivers of latitudinal diversity patterns. We examined the spatial patterns of evolution- ary diversity using complementary phylogenetic diversity and endemism measures. To examine if different regions of the WG serve as a museum or cradle of evolutionary diversity, we examined the distribution of 470 species based on distribution modelling and occurrence locations across the entire region. In accordance with the expectation, we found that the southern WG is both a museum and cradle of woody plant evolutionary diversity, as a higher proportion of both old and young evolutionary lineages are restricted to the southern WG. The diversity gradient is likely driven by high geo-climatic stability in the south and phylogenetic niche conservatism for moist and aseasonal sites. This is corroborated by persistent lineage nestedness at almost all evolutionary depths (10–135 million years), and a strong correlation of evolutionary diversity with drought seasonality, precipitation and topographic heterogeneity. Our results highlight the global value of the WG, demonstrating, in particular, the importance of protecting the southern WG—an engine of plant diversification and persistence.

 
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hortus

leafindicus

malabaricus

 

by HENDRIK VAN RHEEDE

The Hortus Indicus Malabaricus comprises 12 volumes of about 500 pages each, with 794 copper plate engravings. The first of the 12 volumes of the book was published in 1678, and the last in 1693. It is believed to be the earliest comprehensive printed work on the flora of southern India, Asia and the tropics.

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the flora

leafsylvatica

for southern india

 

by Col. RH BEDDOME

Col. Richard Henry Beddome was a British military officer and naturalist in India. His publications include The Flora Sylvatica for Southern India, 1869–73; Ferns of Southern India, 1873; Ferns of British India, 1876; Forester's Manual of Botany for Southern India, 1869–74; Icones Plantarum Indies Orientalis, 1874.

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plants of the

leafcoast

of coromandel

 

by W ROXBURGH

William Roxburgh was a Scottish surgeon and botanist who worked extensively in India, describing species and working on economic botany. He is known as the founding father of Indian botany. In 1795 Plants of the coast of Coromandel was published in 3 volumes. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society.

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the fauna of british

mothindia

including ... Moths

 

by Sir GF HAMPSON

Sir George Francis Hampson was an English entomologist. Hampson travelled to India to become a tea-planter in the Nilgiri Hills, where he became interested in moths and butterflies. He then commenced work on The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma: Moths (4 volumes 1892-1896).

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