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Latitudinal patterns of species richness and range size of ferns along elevational gradients at the transition from tropics to subtropics


Hernández-Rojas, Adriana C; Kluge, Jürgen; Krömer, Thorsten; Carvajal-Hernández, César; Silva-Mijangos, Libertad; Miehe, Georg; Lehnert, Marcus; Weigand, Anna; Kessler, Michael (2020). Latitudinal patterns of species richness and range size of ferns along elevational gradients at the transition from tropics to subtropics. Journal of Biogeography, 47(6):1383-1397.

Abstract

Aim - To assess the range size patterns of ferns and lycophytes along elevational gradients at different latitudes in an ecographical transition zone and search for predictors of range size from a set of environmental factors.
Location -Mexico, from 15° to 23° N.
Taxon - Ferns and lycophytes.
Methods - All terrestrial and epiphytic species were recorded in 658 plots of 400 m2 along eight elevational gradients. To test whether the range size within assemblages increases with elevation and latitude, we calculated the latitudinal range using the northern and southern limits of each species and averaged the latitudinal range of all species within assemblages weighted by their abundances. We related climatic factors and the changes with latitude and elevation with range size using linear mixed‐effects models.
Results - Species richness per plot increased with elevation up to about 1,500–2,000 m, with strong differences in overall species richness between transects and a reduction with increasing latitude. The mean weighted range size of species within assemblages declined with elevation, and increased with latitude, as predicted by theory. However, we also found marked differences between the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of Mexico, as well as low range size in humid regions. The best models described about 76%–80% of the variability in range size and included the seasonality in both temperature and precipitation, and annual cloud cover.
Main conclusion - Latitudinal and elevational patterns of range size in fern assemblages are driven by an interplay of factors favouring wide‐ranging species (higher latitudes with increasing temperature seasonality; dryer habitat conditions) and those favouring species with restricted ranges (higher elevations; humid habitat conditions), with additional variation introduced by the specific conditions of individual mountain ranges. Climatically stable, humid habitats apparently provide favourable conditions for small‐ranged fern species, and should accordingly be given high priority in regional conservation planning.

Abstract

Aim - To assess the range size patterns of ferns and lycophytes along elevational gradients at different latitudes in an ecographical transition zone and search for predictors of range size from a set of environmental factors.
Location -Mexico, from 15° to 23° N.
Taxon - Ferns and lycophytes.
Methods - All terrestrial and epiphytic species were recorded in 658 plots of 400 m2 along eight elevational gradients. To test whether the range size within assemblages increases with elevation and latitude, we calculated the latitudinal range using the northern and southern limits of each species and averaged the latitudinal range of all species within assemblages weighted by their abundances. We related climatic factors and the changes with latitude and elevation with range size using linear mixed‐effects models.
Results - Species richness per plot increased with elevation up to about 1,500–2,000 m, with strong differences in overall species richness between transects and a reduction with increasing latitude. The mean weighted range size of species within assemblages declined with elevation, and increased with latitude, as predicted by theory. However, we also found marked differences between the Atlantic and Pacific slopes of Mexico, as well as low range size in humid regions. The best models described about 76%–80% of the variability in range size and included the seasonality in both temperature and precipitation, and annual cloud cover.
Main conclusion - Latitudinal and elevational patterns of range size in fern assemblages are driven by an interplay of factors favouring wide‐ranging species (higher latitudes with increasing temperature seasonality; dryer habitat conditions) and those favouring species with restricted ranges (higher elevations; humid habitat conditions), with additional variation introduced by the specific conditions of individual mountain ranges. Climatically stable, humid habitats apparently provide favourable conditions for small‐ranged fern species, and should accordingly be given high priority in regional conservation planning.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 June 2020
Deposited On:14 Apr 2020 07:42
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 15:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0305-0270
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13841

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