Potential mammalian species for investigating the past connections between Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest
Much evidence suggests that Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest were connected through at least three dispersion routes in the past: the Eastern route, the central route, and the Western route. However, few studies have assessed the use of these routes based on multiple species. Here we present a compilation of mammal species that potentially have dispersed between the two forest regions and which may serve to investigate these connections. We evaluate the present-day geographic distributions of mammals occurring in both Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest and the likely connective routes between these forests. We classified the species per habitat occupancy (strict forest specialists, species that prefer forest habitat, or generalists) and compiled the genetic data available for each species. We found 127 mammalian species presently occurring in both Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest for which, substantial genetic data was available. Hence, highlighting their potential for phylogeographic studies investigating the past connections between the two forests. Differently from what was previously proposed, the present-day geographic distribution of mammal species found in both Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest points to more species in the eastern portion of the dry diagonal (and adjoining forested habitats). The Central route was associated with the second most species. Although it remains to be seen how this present-day geography reflects the paleo dispersal routes, our results show the potential of using mammal species to investigate and bring new insights about the past connections between Amazonia and the Atlantic Forest.