Publication: PAICE: A new R package to estimate the number of inter-island
colonizations considering haplotype data and sample size
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Aim: Colonization is a central topic in ecology and one of the cornerstones of island biogeography. Although the evolutionary history of island species is widely studied, the quantification of colonization is particularly challenging because the same area may be colonized multiple times by the same species, whereas initially successful colonization events may eventually be followed by extinction. Nevertheless, an estimation of the actual number of within-archipelago colonization events can be achieved when using adequate sample size and genetic data, which are essential parameters in the inference of colonization success of any species. Location: Canary Islands, Azores and Galápagos Islands. Taxon: Buteo galapagoensis, Croton scouleri, Setophaga petechia aureola and Xylocopa darwini (Galápagos); Canarina canariensis, Cistus monspeliensis, Juniperus cedrus and Olea europaea subsp. guanchica (Canary Islands); and Juniperus brevifolia and Picconia azorica (Azores). Methods: The new R package PAICE uses haplotype (from organelle DNA) sharing and haplotype relationships, and controls for sampling effort to estimate the number of within-archipelago colonization events in island-like systems. PAICE applies a sampling-effort correction based on rarefaction curves of field sampling (number of individuals or populations) and genetic sampling (number of DNA variable positions). The number of colonization events for the 10 insular species were estimated with PAICE and results compared with previous methods. Results: PAICE estimates a number of inter-island colonization events up to an order of magnitude greater than previous methods. Furthermore, PAICE can quantify the colonization events of any study species, in multiple biogeographic contexts and considering sampling size, thus providing a standardized estimate of colonization success. Main conclusions: The new package PAICE provides an estimation of the number of inter-island colonization events (regardless of dispersal routes or rates) based on haplotype data across islands. This new tool will allow gaining new insights on the intensity of long-distance-dispersal events, their drivers and consequences for the assembly of insular faunas and floras.