Cryptic northern refugia and the origins of modern biota.

This source preferred by John Stewart

Authors: Stewart, J.R. and Lister, A.M.

Journal: Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Volume: 16

Pages: 608-613

ISSN: 0169-5347

DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(01)02338-2

Viewed from a geological perspective, present-day animal and plant communities in many parts of the world have a remarkably short history. The environmental revolution at the end of the Pleistocene, a mere 10 000 years ago, triggered major shifts in the ranges of species and hence composition of communities. Present-day communities in the boreal and temperate zones assembled at this time by combining species that survived the northern environment of the Last Cold Stage with those returning from more temperate refugia. Increasing evidence suggests that the well-studied European southern and eastern refugia for thermophilous animal and plant taxa were supplemented by cryptic refugia in northern Europe during the Late Pleistocene. These northern refugia would have been in areas of sheltered topography that provided suitable stable microclimates, and could partially explain the ‘nonanalogue’ mammalian assemblages of the Late Pleistocene. They also have implications for phylogeography and speciation.

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