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Diversity 2013, 5(4), 811-823; doi:10.3390/d5040811

Patterns of Evolutionary Speed: In Search of a Causal Mechanism

1,*  and 2
1 Institute of Applied Ecology New Zealand, School of Applied Science, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand 2 School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 25 October 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 2 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Diversity and Molecular Evolution)
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The “integrated evolutionary speed hypothesis” proposes that the rate of genetic evolution influences all major biogeographical patterns of diversity including those associated with temperature, water availability, productivity, spatial heterogeneity and area. Consistent with this theory, rates of genetic evolution correspond with patterns of diversity and diversification. Here we review the mechanisms that have been proposed to explain these biogeographic patterns in rates of genetic evolution. Tests of several proposed mechanisms have produced equivocal results, whereas others such as those invoking annual metabolic activity, or a “Red Queen” effect, remain unexplored. However, rates of genetic evolution have been associated with both productivity mediated rates of germ cell division and active metabolic rates and these explanations therefore justify further empirical investigation.
Keywords: evolutionary speed; genetic evolution; latitude; population size; metabolic rate; diversity gradients evolutionary speed; genetic evolution; latitude; population size; metabolic rate; diversity gradients
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Gillman, L.N.; Wright, S.D. Patterns of Evolutionary Speed: In Search of a Causal Mechanism. Diversity 2013, 5, 811-823.

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