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Low extinction rates made California a refuge for diverse plant species
Date:1/9/2013

ranean climate spurred speciation," Kay said. "Our work shows that the causes of the diversity we see now are more ancient than the Mediterranean climate itself."

In addition to topography, important features of California and other Mediterranean climate regions are their latitude and their location on the west coast of a continent, Lancaster said. Latitude is important because it allowed these regions to avoid glaciation during periods when global temperatures were cold and northern latitudes were covered in ice. During periods of global warmth, being situated where easterly air currents bring moisture onto the land from the ocean has kept these regions from becoming deserts.

"These regions are likely diverse because they are some of the only non-tropical regions to have been able to avoid historical periods of either desertification or glaciation," Lancaster said.


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Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

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