Understanding a region's climatic history can help locate areas rich in species, scientists say. A research group from North and South America used the climatic history of Brazil's Atlantic Forest to pinpoint likely hotspots of genetic diversity. With frogs, at least, the idea worked, pinpointing places with a rich lineage. Writing in the journal Science, they say this could set "new priorities" for conservation in regions likely to harbour interesting plants and animals. "With this method, we can identify areas that have been working as refugia for biodiversity," said research leader Ana Carolina Carnaval from the University of California at Berkeley.


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