Gis-based niche models reveal unifying climatic mechanisms that maintain the location of avian hybrid zones in a North American suture zone.
- N G Swenson
- Journal of evolutionary biology
Correlations between environmental parameters and the distribution of four chromosomal taxa in the acridine grasshopperCaledia captiva (F.) have been analyzed. A bioclimate prediction system (BIOCLIM) was used as a model to determine their bioclimatic envelopes and to predict their probable geographic distributions, based on climatic similarities with actual distributions. New, and formerly unsuspected, distribution areas are predicted. Parapatric boundaries are defined that actually coincide with known limits. The general distribution of the four taxa is correlated with rainfall seasonality and a temperature gradient. Their distributional boundaries are mostly in accordance with extreme values in rainfall in an east-west direction and temperature in a north-south direction. A nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis of one selected narrow parapatric boundary confirms the nature of the geographic correlation with several climatic extreme values. The climatic and vegetation analyses suggest that sharp parapatric distributions can be maintained by gradual environmental influences and that coincidence with abrupt ecotones is not necessary. At least one of the parapatric boundaries seems to be relatively recent in origin (2000–6000 years) and on the basis of the location of extreme climatic values as well as chromosomal and genetic markers it is expected to slowly move further south and east of its present location apparently following a climatically established boundary.