Extinction pulse at Eocene-Oligocene boundary drives diversification dynamics of two Australian temperate floras

Francis J. Nge, Ed Biffin, Kevin R. Thiele, Michelle Waycott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The diversification dynamics of the Australian temperate flora remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate whether differences in plant richness in the southwest Australian (SWA) biodiversity hotspot and southeast Australian (SEA) regions of the Australian continent can be attributed to higher net diversification, more time for species accumulation, or both. We assembled dated molecular phylogenies for the 21 most species-rich flowering plant families found across mesic temperate Australia, encompassing both SWA and SEA regions, and applied a series of diversification models to investigate responses across different groups and timescales. We show that the high richness in SWA can be attributed to a higher net rate of lineage diversification and more time for species accumulation. Different pulses of diversification were retrieved in each region. A decrease in diversification rate across major flowering plant lineages at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary (ca 34 Ma) was witnessed in SEA but not in SWA. Our study demonstrates the importance of historical diversification pulses and differential responses to global events as drivers of present-day diversity. More broadly, we show that diversity within the SWA biodiversity hotspot is not only the result of recent radiations, but also reflects older events over the history of this planet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20192546
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1919
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Extinction pulse at Eocene-Oligocene boundary drives diversification dynamics of two Australian temperate floras'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this