Montane regions are centers of endemism and species richness for many taxa, including plethodontid salamanders. The forces creating and maintaining species' elevational range limits have been extensively studied in members of the genus Plethodon. However, the mechanisms underlying these limits are still poorly understood. Prior work has often focused on range limits from a single perspective, testing ideas of niche conservatism and climatic sensitivity or interspecific competitive interference. Range limits are a complex interaction of both ecological and evolutionary processes. Biotic and abiotic factors may be interacting at different scales, regulating genetic drift, gene flow, and local adaptation. It is only through integrating these ideas across multiple systems that we will be able to begin addressing what limits species elevational distributions.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1