Phylogenetic turnover quantifies the evolutionary distance among species assemblages and is central to understanding the main drivers shaping biodiversity. It is affected both by geographic and environmental distance between sites.
Therefore, analyzing phylogenetic turnover in environmental space requires removing the effect of geographic distance. Here, we apply a novel approach by deciphering phylogenetic turnover of European tetrapods in environmental space after removing geographic land distance effects. We demonstrate that phylogenetic turnover is strongly structured in environmental space, particularly in ectothermic tetrapods, and is well explained by macroecological characteristics such as niche size, species richness and relative phylogenetic diversity. In ectotherms, rather recent evolutionary processes were important in structuring phylogenetic turnover along environmental gradients. In contrast, early evolutionary processes had already shaped the current structure of phylogenetic turnover in endotherms. Our approach enables the disentangling of the idiosyncrasies of evolutionary processes such as the degree of niche conservatism and
diversification rates in structuring biodiversity.