West Wind Drift revisited: Testing for directional dispersal in the Southern Hemisphere using event-based tree fitting
2007 (English)In: Journal of Biogeography, ISSN 0305-0270, E-ISSN 1365-2699, Vol. 34, no 3, 398-416 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Aim Recent studies suggest that if constrained by prevailing wind or ocean currents dispersal may produce predictable, repeated distribution patterns. Dispersal mediated by the West Wind Drift (WWD) and Antarctic Circumpolar Current (AAC) has often been invoked to explain the floristic similarities of Australia, South America, and New Zealand. If these systems have been important dispersal vectors then eastward dispersal – from Australia to New Zealand and the western Pacific to South America – is expected to predominate. We investigate whether phylogenies for Southern Hemisphere plant groups provide evidence of historical dispersal asymmetry and more specifically whether inferred asymmetries are consistent with the direction of the WWD/AAC.
Location Southern Hemisphere.
Methods We assembled a data set of 23 published phylogenies for plant groups that occur in New Zealand, Australia, and/or South America. We used parsimony-based tree fitting to infer the number and direction of dispersals within each group. Observed dispersal asymmetries were tested for significance against a distribution of expected values.
Results Our analyses suggest that dispersal has played a major role in establishing contemporary distributions and that there are significant patterns of asymmetry in Southern Hemisphere dispersal. Consistent with the eastward direction of the WWD/ACC dispersal from Australia to New Zealand was inferred significantly more often than in the reverse direction. No significant patterns of dispersal asymmetry were found between the western Pacific landmasses and South America. However, eastward dispersal was more frequently inferred between Australia and South America, while for New Zealand-South American events westward dispersal was more common.
Main conclusions Our results suggest that eastward circumpolar currents have constrained dispersal of plants between Australia and New Zealand. However, the WWD/ACC appear to have had less of an influence on dispersal between the western Pacific landmasses and South America. This observation may suggest that differences in dispersal mechanism are important – direct wind or water dispersal versus stepping-stone dispersal along the Antarctic coast. While our analyses provide useful preliminary insights into dispersal asymmetry in the Southern Hemisphere we will need larger data sets and additional methodological advances in order to fully test these dispersal patterns and infer processes from phylogenetic data.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 34, no 3, 398-416 p.
Antarctic Circumpolar Current, asymmetric dispersal, Australia, concerted dispersal, event-based tree fitting, Gondwana, New Zealand, Southern Hemisphere, southern South America, West Wind Drift
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-24603DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01655.xISI: 000244113900004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-24603DiVA: diva2:52377