Flowers outcompeted conifers since the Cretaceous
Photo by Bruno Salvini on Unsplash
What is it about?
We evaluated the long-held hypothesis that the radiation of angiosperms (flowering plants) has led to the decline of gymnosperms (here approximated by conifers). Using approaches based on dated molecular phylogenies or paleontological data, we estimated processes of conifer diversification and how they relate to different external factors. The diversity of conifers is strongly and directly linked to the increasing diversity of flowering plants since the Cretaceous period, thus attesting to the role of competition between plants.
Why is it important?
The study of an ancient and relatively species-poor group of plants deepens our understanding of how diversity is regulated over time and in relation to multiple factors. Both phylogenetic and fossil data provide strong support for a widespread hypothesis of competition between clades over time. This study illustrates how entire branches of the tree of life can actively compete for ecological dominance under changing climatic conditions.
The following have contributed to this page: Fabien Condamine