BIOGEOGRAPHY

Páramo islands through the Pleistocene

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Science  23 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6455, pp. 770-771
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6455.770-a

Characteristic flora of the Colombian Andes páramo dominated by Espeletia spp.

PHOTO: JESSE KRAFT/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

The páramo habitat is the treeless alpine biome characteristic of the high tropical Andes, a habitat that has fluctuated widely in extent and elevation during the cycles of Pleistocene glaciations. Using a 1-million-year fossil pollen record from Colombia as a baseline, Flantua et al. model how the páramo underwent cycles of fragmentation and reconnection. This “flickering connectivity” provides a basis for interpreting the biogeographic history of the rich flora of the páramo and understanding the mechanisms of diversification that have shaped it.

J. Biogeogr. 46, 1808 (2019).

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