Biodiversity hotspots, representing regions with high species endemism and conservation threat, have been mapped globally. Yet, biodiversity distribution data from within hotspots are too sparse for effective conservation in the face of rapid environmental change. Using frogs as indicators, ecological niche models under paleoclimates, and simultaneous Bayesian analyses of multispecies molecular data, we compare alternative hypotheses of assemblage-scale response to late Quaternary climate change. This reveals a hotspot within the Brazilian Atlantic forest hotspot. We show that the southern Atlantic forest was climatically unstable relative to the central region, which served as a large climatic refugium for neotropical species in the late Pleistocene. This sets new priorities for conservation in Brazil and establishes a validated approach to biodiversity prediction in other understudied, species-rich regions.
The leaf or monkey frogs of the hylid subfamily Phyllomedusinae are a unique group of charismatic anurans. We present a molecular phylogenetic analysis that includes 45 of the 60 species of phyllomedusines using up to 12 genes and intervening tRNAs. The aims were to gain a better understanding of the phylogenetic position of Phrynomedusa, test the monophyly and explore the relationships among several putative lineages (Hylomantis, the H. buckleyi Group, Phasmahyla, the four species groups of Phyllomedusa, and the species of Phyllomedusa that remain unassigned to any group), and to examine the implications of our phylogeny for the evolution of several characters in phyllomedusines. The analyses resulted in a well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis that provides a historical framework for a discussion of the evolution of characters associated with reproductive biology, gliding behaviour, the physiology of waterproofing, and bioactive peptides. Implications include an earlier origin for eggless capsules than for leaf-folding behaviour during amplexus, two independent origins of gliding, and an earlier origin of reduction in evaporative water loss than uricotelism, which is a result that originally was predicted on the basis of physiology alone. Furthermore, our results support the prediction that bioactive peptides from different peptide families are to be expected in all species of Phyllomedusinae. Hylomantis (as recently redefined) is shown to be paraphyletic and the synonymy of Agalychnis is revised to remedy this problem by including both Hylomantis and Pachymedusa.
The recent global spread of the amphibian-killing fungus [Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd)] has been closely tied to anthropogenic activities; however, regional patterns of spread are not completely understood. Using historical samples, we can test whether Bd was a spreading or endemic pathogen in a region within a particular time frame, because those two disease states provide different predictions for the regional demographic dynamics and population genetics of Bd. Testing historical patterns of pathogen prevalence and population genetics under these predictions is key to understanding the evolution and origin of Bd. Focusing on the Atlantic Forest (AF) of Brazil, we used qPCR assays to determine the presence or absence of Bd on 2799 preserved postmetamorphic anurans collected between 1894 and 2010 and used semi-nested PCRs to determine the frequency of rRNA ITS1 haplotypes from 52 samples. Our earliest date of detection was 1894. A mean prevalence of 23.9% over time and spatiotemporal patterns of Bd clusters indicate that Bd has been enzootic in the Brazilian AF with no evidence of regional spread within the last 116 years. ITS1 haplotypes confirm the long-term presence of two divergent strains of Bd (BdGPL and Bd-Brazil) and three spatiotemporally broad genetic demes within BdGPL, indicating that Bd was not introduced into southeast Brazil by the bullfrog trade. Our data show that the evolutionary history and pathogen dynamics of Bd in Brazil is better explained by the endemic pathogen hypothesis.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.