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Biogeography of Iberian freshwater fishes revisited: the roles of historical versus contemporary constraints

Journal of Biogeography

By:
, , , , and
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02154.x

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Abstract

Aim  The question of how much of the shared geographical distribution of biota is due to environmental vs. historical constraints remains unanswered. The aim of this paper is to disentangle the contribution of historical vs. contemporary factors to the distribution of freshwater fish species. In addition, it illustrates how quantifying the contribution of each type of factor improves the classification of biogeographical provinces.

Location  Iberian Peninsula, south-western Europe (c. 581,000 km2).

Methods  We used the most comprehensive data on native fish distributions for the Iberian Peninsula, compiled from Portuguese and Spanish sources on a 20-km grid-cell resolution. Overall, 58 species were analysed after being categorized into three groups according to their ability to disperse through saltwater: (1) species strictly intolerant of saltwater (primary species); (2) species partially tolerant of saltwater, making limited incursions into saltwaters (secondary species); and (3) saltwater-tolerant species that migrate back and forth from sea to freshwaters or have invaded freshwaters recently (peripheral species). Distance-based multivariate analyses were used to test the role of historical (basin formation) vs. contemporary environmental (climate) conditions in explaining current patterns of native fish assemblage composition. Cluster analyses were performed to explore species co-occurrence patterns and redefine biogeographical provinces based on the distributions of fishes.

Results  River basin boundaries were better at segregating species composition for all species groups than contemporary climate variables. This historical signal was especially evident for primary and secondary freshwater fishes. Eleven biogeographical provinces were delineated. Basins flowing to the Atlantic Ocean north of the Tagus Basin and those flowing to the Mediterranean Sea north of the Mijares Basin were the most dissimilar group. Primary and secondary freshwater species had higher province fidelity than peripheral species.

Main conclusions  The results support the hypothesis that historical factors exert greater constraints on native freshwater fish assemblages in the Iberian Peninsula than do current environmental factors. After examining patterns of assemblage variation across space, as evidenced by the biogeographical provinces, we discuss the likely dispersal and speciation events that underlie these patterns.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Biogeography of Iberian freshwater fishes revisited: the roles of historical versus contemporary constraints
Series title:
Journal of Biogeography
DOI:
10.1111/j.1365-2699.2009.02154.x
Volume
36
Issue:
11
Year Published:
2009
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Leetown
Description:
15 p.
First page:
2096
Last page:
2110
Country:
Portugal, Spain
Other Geospatial:
Iberian Peninsula
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N