Understanding species distribution patterns is a central aim in ecology. Traditionally, the study of such patterns emphasizes the ecological traits of the organisms that allow them to interact with other species and with the environment. The perception that ecological differences may reflect the evolutionary history of a species has also highlighted the importance of considering phylogeny in studies of communities at different spatial scales. Based on this perspective, our goal was to investigate phylogenetic and ecological patterns in a community of anurans in a restinga (sandy coastal plain) environment on the northern coast of the state of Bahia, Brazil. First, we tested whether two ecomorphological traits of the studied species presented phylogenetic signal. Then, we analyzed the phylogenetic and ecological relationships of the anuran species that coexisted in the same spatial unit using the net relatedness index (NRI) and nearest related-taxon index (NTI). The results indicated that ecomorphological traits were conserved in the evolutionary history of the studied species. Furthermore, the anuran community was not phylogenetically structured, but there was a trend toward phylogenetic and ecological overdispersion, with an emphasis on the latter. This result suggests that the stochastic (related to dispersion of individuals) and deterministic processes (as interactions between species and between species and the environment) are likely acting together and affecting the investigated community at the local scale. The observed patterns could be explained by (i) the phylogenetic and ecological singularity of Pristimantis paulodutrai, a dominant species in the community, and (ii) high environmental diversity, which might have diversified the environment and increased the co-occurrence of many ecological traits related to habitat use by species, regardless of whether these differences were reflected in the phylogenetic structure of the community. Better insights will be achieved by combining phylogenetic, ecological, and environmental data to clarify the processes that structure anuran communities at different spatial scales.
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