A geographical model of high species diversity

Several cases of high species diversity, for example in tropical rain forests, imply that speciation has been frequent or rapid. However, how speciation could proceed so frequently as to generate extraordinary diversity still remains unsolved, despite recent advancements of diverse theories of allopatric and sympatric speciation. This paper presents a theoretical model that demonstrates the process of frequent speciation by means of geographical fragmentation. We focus on allopatric speciation and explore the evolutionary effect of fragmentation and extinction of demes (subpopulations) in a widespread species or species group. After a large contagious population of a single species is fragmented into demes, extinction of some demes could result in isolation of multiple demes. Thus, several demes could become good species simultaneously through the process of allopatric speciation. We apply the random extinction method to this fragmentation process where demes become randomly extinct. The present model illustrates that frequent speciation could occur in communities where large environmental changes frequently take place.

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