(Hosted by Eric Sargis)
Current climatic and habitat variation are important factors explaining modern community and macro-ecological patterns. Yet other factors, such as anthropogenic impacts and paleo-climate should influence modern species distributions and their traits. In this first part of my talk, I discuss research using species distribution models to examine the relative importance of climate and anthropogenic variables for predicting the geographic range of Eulemur species in Madagascar. We found that anthropogenic factors are as important as climate for predicting the distribution of several species and helps to explain over-predicted distributions generated from models that only use climate variables. In the second part of my talk, I present some preliminary results investigating the relative importance of modern and paleo-climatic variables for predicting the phylogenetic and trait structure of African ungulate communities. Paleo-climatic variables best explain the phylogenetic structure of communities and a combination of modern and paleo-climatic variables explain trait structure. Future analyses will apply a similar approach to understand the structure of African primate and carnivoran communities.