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Supplemental material for: The dynamics of bird diversity in the new world Machac, Antonin



Three prominent explanations have been proposed to explain the dramatic differences in species richness across regions and elevations, (1) time for speciation, (2) diversification rates, and (3) ecological limits. But the relative importance of these explanations and, especially, their interplay and possible synthesis remain largely elusive. Integrating diversification analyses, null models, and GIS, I study avian richness across regions and elevations of the New World. My results reveal that even though the three explanations are differentially important (with ecological limits playing the dominant role), each contributes uniquely to the formation of richness gradients. Further, my results reveal the likely interplay between the explanations. They indicate that ecological limits hinder the diversification process, such that the accumulation of species within a region gradually slows down over time. Yet, it does not seem to converge toward a hard ceiling on regional richness. Instead, species-rich regions show suppressed, but continued, diversification, coupled with signatures of possible competition (esp. Neotropical lowlands). Conversely, species-poor, newly-colonized regions show fast diversification and weak to no signs of competition (esp. Nearctic highlands). These results held across five families of birds, across grid cells, biomes, and elevations. Together, my findings begin to illuminate the rich, yet highly consistent, interplay of the mechanisms that together shape richness gradients in the New World, including the most species-rich biodiversity hotspots on the planet, the Andes and the Amazon.

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The Supplementary Material includes 80 pages (Supplementary Methods and Results, 10 tables and 54 figures)

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