The Geographic Distribution of Biological Diversity

We study how historical, evolutionary and ecological processes interact to govern the geographic distribution of biodiversity. We are interested in how such processes influence spatiotemporal variation in species richness and composition, phylogenetic diversity and functional traits.

global diversity


Relevant references

Usui T, Lerner D, Eckert I, Angert AL, Garroway CJ, Hargreaves A, Lancaster LT, Lessard JP, Riva F, Schmidt C, van der Burg K, Marshall K. (2023) The evolution of plasticity at geographic range edges. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Ibarra-Isassi J*, Handa IT, Lessard JP. (2023) Community-wide trait adaptation, but not plasticity, explain ant community structure in extreme environments. Functional Ecology 37: 139–149.

Gibb H, Bishop TR, Leahy L, Parr CL, Lessard JP, Sanders NJ, Shik JZ, Ibarra-Isassi J, Narendra A, Dunn RR, Wright IJ. (2023) Ecological strategies of pl(ant)s: toward a world-wide worker economic spectrum for ants. Functional Ecology 37: 13–25.

La Richelière F*, Muñoz G*, Guénard B, Dunn RR, Economo E, Powell S, Sanders NJ, Weiser MD, Abouheif E, Lessard JP. Warm regions of the world are hotspots of superorganism complexity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B

LoScerbo D*, Farrell MJ, Arrowsmith J, Mlynarek J, Lessard JP. (2020) Phylogenetically conserved host traits and local abiotic conditions jointly drive the geography of parasite intensity. Functional Ecology 34:2477–2487.

Brassard F*, Francoeur A, Lessard JP. (2020) Temperature drives caste-specific morphological clines in ants. Journal of Animal Ecology 892517– 2530.

Holt BG, Fritz SA, Marx FG, Lessard JP, Rahbek C. (2020) Evolutionary diversification in the marine realm: a global case study with marine mammals. Frontiers of Biogeography 12.3, e45184e.

Beaudrot L., Acevedo M., Lessard J.P., Zvoleff A., Jansen P.A., Fletcher C., Larney E., O’Brien T., Rovero F., Sheil D., Andelman S. and J. Ahumada. (2019) ​Local temperature and ecological similarity drive distributional dynamics of tropical mammals worldwide. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28: 976– 991.

Arrowsmith J*, Nagaraju NK, Larivée M, Turgeon J, Lessard JP. (2018) Environmental filtering along an acidity gradient shapes the structure of odonate assemblages. Ecosphere 9(12): e02473.

Holt BG, Costa GC, Penone C, Lessard JP, Brooks TM, Davidson AD, Hedges BS, Radeloff VC, Rahbek C, Rondinini C, Graham CH. (2018) Environmental variation is a major predictor of global trait turnover in mammals. Journal of Biogeography 45: 225-237.

Mazel F, Wüest RO, Lessard JP, Renaud J, Ficetola GF, Lavergne S, Thuiller W. (2017). Global patterns of β-diversity along the phylogenetic timescale: the role of climate and plate tectonics. Global Ecology and Biogeography 26: 1211-1221.

Daru BH, Holt BG, Lessard JP, Yessoufou K, Davies TJ. (2017) Phylogenetic regionalization of marine plants reveals close evolutionary affinities among disjunct temperate assemblages. Biological Conservation 213: 351-356.

Jønsson KA, Lessard JP, Ricklefs RR. (2015) The evolution of morphological diversity in continental assemblages of passerine birds. Evolution 69: 879-889. [PDF]

Wells K, O’Hara R, Morand S, Lessard JP, Ribas A. (2015) The importance of spill-over effects and parasite geography for global patterns of host-parasite associations. Diversity and Distributions 21:477-486.

Xu X, Wang Z, Rahbek C, Lessard JP, Fang J. (2013) Evolutionary history influences the effects of water-energy dynamics on oak diversity in Asia. Journal of Biogeography 40:2146-2155.

Holt BG, Lessard JP, Borregaard MK, Fritz SA, Araújo MB, Dimitrov DD, Fabre PH, Graham CH, Graves GR, Jønsson KA, Nogués-Bravo D, Wang Z, Whittaker RJ, Fjeldså J, Rahbek C. (2013) An update of Wallace’s zoogeographic regions of the world. Science 339:74-78.

Dunn RR, Agosti D, Andersen AN, Bruhl CA, Cerda X, Ellison AM, Fisher BL, Fitzpatrick MC, Gibb H, Gotelli NJ, Gove AD, Guenard B, Janda M, Kaspari M, Laurent EJ, Lessard JP, Longino JT, Majer JD, Menke SB, McGlynn TP, Parr CL, Philpott SM, Pfeiffer M, Retana J, Suarez AV, Vasconcelos HL, Weiser MD, Sanders NJ. (2009) Climatic drivers of hemispheric asymmetry in global patterns of ant species richness. Ecology Letters 12: 324-333

Sanders NJ, Lessard JP, Dunn RR, Fitzpatrick MC. (2007) Temperature, but not productivity or geometry, predicts elevational diversity gradients in ants across spatial grains. Global Ecology and Biogeography 16: 640-649