Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

Molecular Ecology







First Page


Last Page



Nonequilibrium dynamics and non-neutral processes, such as trait-dependent dispersal, are often missing from quantitative island biogeography models despite their potential explanatory value. One of the most influential nonequilibrium models is the taxon cycle, but it has been difficult to test its validity as a general biogeographical framework. Here, we test predictions of the taxon cycle model using six expected phylogenetic patterns and a time-calibrated phylogeny of Indo-Pacific Odontomachus (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Ponerinae), one of the ant genera that E.O. Wilson used when first proposing the hypothesis. We used model-based inference and a newly developed trait-dependent dispersal model to jointly estimate ancestral biogeography, ecology (habitat preferences for forest interiors, vs. “marginal” habitats, such as savannahs, shorelines, disturbed areas) and the linkage between ecology and dispersal rates. We found strong evidence that habitat shifts from forest interior to open and disturbed habitats increased macroevolutionary dispersal rate. In addition, lineages occupying open and disturbed habitats can give rise to both island endemics re-occupying only forest interiors and taxa that re-expand geographical ranges. The phylogenetic predictions outlined in this study can be used in future work to evaluate the relative weights of neutral (e.g., geographical distance and area) and non-neutral (e.g., trait-dependent dispersal) processes in historical biogeography and community ecology.

Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Science Foundation


biogeography, diversification, Formicidae, insect, Melanesia, taxon cycle


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Matos-Maravi, P, NJ Matzke, FJ Larabee, RM Clouse, WC Wheeler, DM Sorger, AV Suarez, and M Janda. 2018. The taxon cycle revisited: contribution of non- neutral processes in the biogeography of an Indo-Pacific ant lineage (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Odontomachus). Molecular Ecology. 27: 1–18. doi:10.1111/mec.14835, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.


Biological Sciences