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A Debate on species Diversification in Azores and Macaronesia published in Journal of Biogeography

Two publications with members of the Azorean Biodiversity Group were recently published in Journal of Biogeography related with an important Debate about species diversity in Macaronesian islands. Those papers are the following:

Triantis, K., Hortal, J., Amorim, I., Cardoso, P., Santos, A.M.C., Gabriel, R. & Borges, P.A.V. (2012). Resolving the Azorean knot: a response to Carine & Schaefer (2010). Journal of Biogeography, 39: 1179–1184. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02623.x (IF: 4.273)

These authors argue that the restricted number of Azorean endemic species and their wide distribution is explainable by the geological, geographical and ecological attributes of the archipelago. That is, the Azores are too young, too small, too isolated and too environmentally homogeneous to have hosted many in situ diversification events and thus they do not host many endemic species compared to other Macaronesian archipelagos, such as Madeira and especially the Canary Islands. Further empirical work on plant and animal phylogenies and population genetics, either within each archipelago or including genera occurring in all the Macaronesian archipelagos, is needed to further understand the Azorean diversity enigma

Carine, M.A., Jones, K., Moura, M., Belo Maciel, M.G., Rumsey, F.J. & Schaefer, H. (2012). Putting biogeography's cart back behind taxonomy's horse: a response to Triantis et al. Journal of Biogeography, 39: 1184-1187. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2012.02736.x (IF: 4.273)

These authors argue that vhecklists are working hypotheses and we suggest that the discrepancies evident between molecular data and checklists may be indicative of deficiencies in our taxonomic understanding of the Azores flora. Patterns of molecular and morphological diversity need to be better understood, and the discrepancies between checklists and molecular data accounted for, before we can establish the relative importance of factors such as palaeoclimate, area, island age or isolation in generating endemic diversity patterns in the Azores flora.