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Contact: Catherine Crawley
National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS)

Yucca Torrey Pines

Caption: Individuals of the same species sometimes occupy radically different environments. For example, some populations of the Mojave Yucca (Yucca shidigera) live sites along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, a region with a relatively moderate climate, such as the one in this photo, while others live in quite dry portions of the Colorado Desert in Joshua Tree National Park in California. A new study published in the journal Systematic Biology indicates that in some circumstances this observation can mislead ecologists into concluding that distinct populations have different environmental requirements.

Credit: William Godsoe/NIMBioS

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Related news release: Species distribution models can exaggerate differences in environmental requirements

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