Amazonia has a very high, although still incompletely known, species diversity distributed over a mosaic of heterogeneous habitats that are also poorly characterized. As a result of this multi-faceted complexity, Amazonia poses a great challenge to geogenomic approaches that strive to find causal links between Earth's geological history and biotic diversification, including the use of genomic data to solve geologic problems. This challenge is even greater because of the need for interdisciplinary approaches despite the difficulties of working across disciplines, where misinterpretations of the literature in disparate research fields can produce unrealistic scenarios of biotic-geologic linkages. The exchange of information and the joint work of geologists and biologists are essential for building stronger and more realistic hypotheses about how past climate may have affected the distribution and connectivity among populations, how the evolution of drainage networks influenced biotic diversification, and how ecological traits and species interactions currently define the spatial organization of biodiversity, and thus how this organization has changed in the past and may change in the future. The heterogeneity of Amazonia and the different effects of historical processes over its distinct regions and ecosystems have to be more completely recognized in biogeography, conservation; and policymaking. In this perspective, we provide examples of geological, climatological; and ecological information relevant to studies of biotic diversification in Amazonia, where recent advances (and their limitations) may not be apparent to researchers in other fields. The three examples, which include the limitations of climate model outputs, the complicated evolution of river drainages; and the complex link between species and their habitats modulated by ecological specialization, are a small subsample intended to illustrate the urgency for more integrated interdisciplinary approaches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics