About the lab
Island plant ecology, evolution and conservation
Featured projects (1)
Among the main goals, the project INVASION aims to contribute to the knowledge about the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that determine the success of exotic invasive plant species on islands. Funded by "AYUDAS FUNDACIÓN BBVA A EQUIPOS DE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA 2019"
Featured research (10)
Understanding the historical and contemporaneous drivers of invasion success in island systems can decisively contribute to identifying sources and pathways that are more likely to give rise to new invaders. Based on a floristic‐driven approach, we aimed at determining the origins of the invasive alien flora of the Canary Islands and shedding light in the mechanisms shaping their distribution within the archipelago. Canary Islands. Vascular plants. An updated checklist of the invasive alien flora of the Canary Islands was assembled along with complementary information related to the native biogeographical regions, stage of invasiveness and dates of naturalization. Statistical models were employed to describe differences in the number of species over space and time. We also used multivariate techniques to evaluate competing hypotheses related to the mechanisms driving invasive floristic composition within the archipelago. We provided a list of 149 alien plant species with a certain degree of invasiveness. The greatest number of invasive species originated from the Neotropics followed by the Cape Region, tropical Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. We observed a slow but steady increase in numbers of invasive species until the 1950s, followed by a stronger rise thereafter. In order to explain composition dissimilarity of the invasive flora among islands, a climatic matching hypothesis was fully supported, with geographic isolation and contemporary human‐mediated connectivity hypotheses receiving less and null support respectively. We showed that the Neotropical region is the main source of plant invasions to the Canary Islands, outnumbering those from other regions with a Mediterranean‐type bioclimate. The assembly of the invasive flora within the archipelago appears to be driven primarily by climate, but with geographic distance also playing a role. This study calls for archipelago‐dependent assessments of the underlying mechanisms that contribute to plant invasion success within insular systems.
A significant number of bryophyte species are thought to have transcontinental geographic ranges, often with multiple disjunct distribution areas. One of these cases is Epipterygium tozeri (Mniaceae), with a Holarctic distribution and disjunct ranges in western North America, the Mediterranean, Japan and central Asia. Collections from different geographic regions were lumped into E. tozeri based on morphology, but a molecular confirmation was lacking so far. Here, we tested species concepts in the genus Epipterygium, with a special focus on the E. tozeri species complex, combining morphological and DNA sequence data for the nuclear ribosomal ITS region and two plastid loci (trnG intron, trnT-psbD spacer). In a second step, we reconstructed the historical biogeography of the genus. We found that Epipterygium most likely originated in Asia or North/Central America and that the alleged single widespread species E. tozeri with disjunct ranges is in fact a group of genetically and morphologically distinct taxa, including four overlooked species, for which we provide descriptions: E. atlanticum sp. nov., E. biauritum sp. nov., E. oreophilum sp. nov., and E. yunnanense sp. nov. The biogeographical history of these species is best explained by a step-wise parallel colonization of the Eurasian and American continents followed by in-situ speciation.
Geographic isolation substantially contributes to species endemism on oceanic islands when speciation involves the colonisation of a new island. However, less is understood about the drivers of speciation within islands. What is lacking is a general understanding of the geographic scale of gene flow limitation within islands, and thus the spatial scale and drivers of geographical speciation within insular contexts. Using a community of beetle species, we show that when dispersal ability and climate tolerance are restricted, microclimatic variation over distances of only a few kilometres can maintain strong geographic isolation extending back several millions of years. Further to this, we demonstrate congruent diversification with gene flow across species, mediated by Quaternary climate oscillations that have facilitated a dynamic of isolation and secondary contact. The unprecedented scale of parallel species responses to a common environmental driver for evolutionary change has profound consequences for understanding past and future species responses to climate variation. Using a community of beetle species, we show that when dispersal ability and climate tolerance are restricted, microclimatic variation over distances of only a few kilometres can maintain strong geographic isolation extending back several millions of years. Further to this, we demonstrate congruent diversification with gene flow across species, mediated by Quaternary climate oscillations that have facilitated a dynamic of isolation and secondary contact.
Bryophytes are typically seen as extremely efficient dispersers. Experimental evidence suggests that efficient short‐distance dispersal coupled with random long‐distance dispersal (LDD) leads to an inverse isolation effect. Under the latter, a higher genetic diversity of colonizing propagules is expected with increasing isolation, counteracting differentiation beyond the range of short‐distance dispersal. This expectation is tested from a review of evidence on spatial genetic structure and analyses of isolation‐by‐distance (IBD) at different scales. A decay of the IBD signal, characterized by non‐significant slopes between kinship coefficients and geographic distance was observed beyond 100 m. A second slope shift was observed at distances larger than 1 km, with a proportion of significant slopes in more than one third of the datasets. The decay of the IBD signal beyond 100 m, which reflects efficient LDD, is consistent with the inverse isolation hypothesis. Persistence of a significant IBD signal at medium ranges in one third of the analysed cases suggests, however, that the inverse isolation effect is not a rule in bryophyte spore dispersal. Furthermore, the higher proportion of significant IBD patterns observed at scales over 100 km likely marks the limits of regional dispersal, beyond which an increasingly smaller proportion of spores travel. Synthesis. We discuss the differences between experimental and genetic estimates of spore dispersal and conclude that geographic distance remains a significant proxy of spore colonization rates, with major consequences for our understanding of actual migration capacities in bryophytes, and hence, our capacity to model range shifts in a changing world. Experimental evidence suggests that, in bryophytes, random long‐distance dispersal counteracts genetic differentiation beyond the range of short‐distance dispersal. A meta‐analysis of spatial genetic structures reveals that, although a decay of the isolation‐by‐distance prevails at medium range, geographic distance remains a significant proxy of spore colonization rates, with major consequences for our capacity to model range shifts in a changing world.
About Jairo Patiño
- My research program lies at the confluence of biogeography, evolution, conservation biology and systematics. I am particularly intrigued by ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape diversity at different spatial and temporal scales. Much of my research is devoted to what processes drive genetic differentiation and ultimately speciation on islands. The management and conservation of island ecosystems following human-mediated disturbances complete my research agenda.