Meeting Abstract

62.3  Saturday, Jan. 5  Historical biogeography of mite harvestmen from the Wet Tropics of Australia BOYER, SL*; BAKER, CM; POPKIN-HALL, ZR; LAUKO, DI; WIESNER, HA; KOZAK, KH; LUXBACHER, AE; Macalester College; Macalester College; Macalester College; Macalester College; University of Minnesota; University of Minnesota boyer@macalester.edu

The Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia have emerged as a model system for understanding the evolutionary effects of climate change on rainforest animals. In vertebrates whose species distributions span the Wet Tropics, contraction and fragmentation of forest habitats during the Last Glacial Maximum has resulted in population-level divergences whose genetic signatures are apparent today. In contrast to vagile vertebrate species, the dispersal-limited leaf litter-dwelling mite harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones, Cyphophthalmi) have tiny species distributions (~50km in diameter). As a result, the consequences of habitat fragmentation and contraction are expected to differ from what has been documented in vertebrates. Currently, our knowledge of the diversity and distribution of mite harvestmen across the Wet Tropics is in its infancy, but significant progress has been made and historical biogeographic patterns have begun to emerge. We present new species and new locality data, ecological niche models and hindcasting, and a preliminary phylogeny for the mite harvestman genus Austropurcellia.