A Landscape-Scale Distribution Assessment of two parapatric subspecies Macaca assamensis shows a specific overlap in potential distribution
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Phylogenetic niche conservatism suggests similar niches of sister taxa, however, the niches of disjunct subspecies may evolve differently. We studied climate niche similarities and geographical distribution of Macaca assamensis, subspecies assamensis and pelops, to investigate their climatic niche-overlap, to assess whether the predicted distributions reveal any zoogeographic barriers, and to predict the potential distribution in current and future climate scenarios. The climatic niche overlap was tested with a multivariate analysis of variance. The species’ current and future distributions were predicted using Maxent and Random Forest algorithms. The niche overlap test and distribution modelling were carried out with a subset of least correlated variables out of 24 topo-climatic variables. Tukey’s Honesty Significance Difference was used on all 24 variables’ range difference test between taxa. We found significantly different climatic niches (P<0.001) and significantly different ranges for 21 predictors (p<0.05). The distribution models predicted a larger potential area than the currently known distribution. The models also predicted some of the neighbouring borders of the current ranges of each sister taxa as potential habitat for the other. The projected future potential distribution indicates that some part of the current geographical distribution may become climatically unsuitable, whereas new geographical areas may become potentially suitable. Although the ranges of some climatic variables overlap, the sister taxa have only partially overlapping climatic niches. The zoogeographic barrier seems to be rather strong, and the two subspecies have segregated in two rather different climatic niches since last glacial maxima.
The repository contains distribution prediction maps of the species.
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