Clade density and the evolution of diversity-dependent diversification

Marcio R. Pie*, Raquel Divieso, Fernanda S. Caron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


The assumption of an ecological limit to the number of species in a given region is frequently invoked in evolutionary studies, yet its empirical basis is remarkably meager. We explore this assumption by integrating data on geographical distributions and phylogenetic relationships of nearly six thousand terrestrial vertebrate species. In particular, we test whether sympatry with closely-related species leads to decreasing speciation rates. We introduce the concept of clade density, which is the sum of the areas of overlap between a given species and other members of its higher taxon, weighted by their phylogenetic distance. Our results showed that, regardless of the chosen taxon and uncertainty in the phylogenetic relationships between the studied species, there is no significant relationship between clade density and speciation rate. We argue that the mechanistic foundation of diversity-dependent diversification is fragile, and that a better understanding of the mechanisms driving regional species pools is sorely needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jul 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jul 2023


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