Climatic stability resulted in the evolution of more bird species
Bar-tailed Godwit. Photographer: Lars Edenius
More species of birds have accumulated in genera inhabiting climatically stable areas. This is shown by a new study from Umeå University, published in tyhe journal Ecology Letters. “The explanation may be that a stable climate makes it more likely that diverging lineages persist without going extinct or merging until speciation is completed, and stability reduces the risk for extinction in response to climatic upheavals,” says Roland Jansson, researcher from Umeå University who led the study. How life has evolved from simple origins into millions of species is a central question in biology that remains unsolved. Advances in genomics and bioinformatics mean we now know a lot about the relationships among species and their origins, but surprisingly little is known about which environmental conditions that allows species to multiply.