Skip to main content

Correlates of rate heterogeneity in avian ecomorphological traits

Chira, A. M.; Cooney, C. R.; Bright, J. A.; Capp, E. J. R.; Hughes, E. C.; Moody, C. J. A.; Nouri, L. O.; Varley, Z. K.; Thomas, G. H.


A. M. Chira

C. R. Cooney

E. J. R. Capp

E. C. Hughes

C. J. A. Moody

L. O. Nouri

Z. K. Varley

G. H. Thomas


Heterogeneity in rates of trait evolution is widespread, but it remains unclear which processes drive fast and slow character divergence across global radiations. Here, we test multiple hypotheses for explaining rate variation in an ecomorphological trait (beak shape) across a globally distributed group (birds). We find low support that variation in evolutionary rates of species is correlated with life history, environmental mutagenic factors, range size, number of competitors, or living on islands. Indeed, after controlling for the negative effect of species' age, 80% of variation in species‐specific evolutionary rates remains unexplained. At the clade level, high evolutionary rates are associated with unusual phenotypes or high species richness. Taken together, these results imply that macroevolutionary rates of ecomorphological traits are governed by both ecological opportunity in distinct adaptive zones and niche differentiation among closely related species.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2018-10
Journal Ecology Letters
Print ISSN 1461-023X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 10
Pages 1505-1514
APA6 Citation Chira, A. M., Cooney, C. R., Bright, J. A., Capp, E. J. R., Hughes, E. C., Moody, C. J. A., …Thomas, G. H. (2018). Correlates of rate heterogeneity in avian ecomorphological traits. Ecology letters, 21(10), 1505-1514.
Keywords Ecological opportunity; Morphological distinctiveness; Rate heterogeneity; Trait evolution
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations