Article

Putting Beta-Diversity on the Map: Broad-Scale Congruence and Coincidence in the Extremes

Imperial College London, United Kingdom
PLoS Biology (Impact Factor: 9.34). 11/2007; 5(10):e272. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050272
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Beta-diversity, the change in species composition between places, is a critical but poorly understood component of biological diversity. Patterns of beta-diversity provide information central to many ecological and evolutionary questions, as well as to conservation planning. Yet beta-diversity is rarely studied across large extents, and the degree of similarity of patterns among taxa at such scales remains untested. To our knowledge, this is the first broad-scale analysis of cross-taxon congruence in beta-diversity, and introduces a new method to map beta-diversity continuously across regions. Congruence between amphibian, bird, and mammal beta-diversity in the Western Hemisphere varies with both geographic location and spatial extent. We demonstrate that areas of high beta-diversity for the three taxa largely coincide, but areas of low beta-diversity exhibit little overlap. These findings suggest that similar processes lead to high levels of differentiation in amphibian, bird, and mammal assemblages, while the ecological and biogeographic factors influencing homogeneity in vertebrate assemblages vary. Knowledge of beta-diversity congruence can help formulate hypotheses about the mechanisms governing regional diversity patterns and should inform conservation, especially as threat from global climate change increases.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Robert Mcdonald, May 27, 2014
  • Source
    • "Therefore, this procedure has many applications in ecology, biogeography and conservation biology. Examples include the capacity to monitor biodiversity patterns across space and over time in response to environmental changes occurring at different spatial scales (e.g., high spatial resolution changes due to land use, low spatial resolution changes due to shifting climate patterns), assessing the spatial congruence among communities or guilds (McKnight et al., 2007) over broad geographic regions, and helping with the identification of areas requiring further conservation actions (e.g., extensions to protected areas, or establishment of new protected areas), among many other applications. All these applications will support a more comprehensive and inclusive conservation of biodiversity (Ferrier, 2002;Xu et al., 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: With the rapid decline in biodiversity worldwide it is imperative to develop procedures for assessing changes in biodiversity across space. The synoptic view provided by imaging remote sensors constitutes a suitable approach for analyzing biodiversity from local to regional scales. A procedure based on the close relationship between floristic similarity and the similarity in land surface phenology was recently developed and successfully applied to assess diversity patterns using time series imagery acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS). However, as it depends on high temporal resolution remotely sensed data (e.g., MODIS), the procedure is constrained by the coarse spatial resolution characterizing these high temporal resolution data. Using an optimized technique for image fusion, we combined high temporal resolution data acquired by the MODIS sensor system with moderate spatial resolution data acquired by the Landsat TM/ETM+ sensor systems. Our results show that the MODIS/Landsat data fusion allows the characterization of land surface phenology at higher spatial resolutions, which better corresponded with information acquired within vegetation survey plots established in temperate montane forests located in Wolong Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China. As such, the procedure is useful for capturing changes in biodiversity induced by disturbances operating at large spatial scales and constitutes a suitable tool for monitoring and managing biodiversity.
    Full-text · Article · May 2016 · Ecological Indicators
  • Source
    • "For the second analytical pathway, three sets of dissimilarity matrices were firstly computed—dissimilarity matrices indicating change in the plant species assemblages , changes in the insect composition and differences in elevation between plots. The dissimilarity matrix for plants was calculated based on the Jaccard index using presence-absence data, with this index being particularly robust in measuring incidence data (Magurran 2004). The Chord-Normalized Expected Species Shared (CNESS) index (Trueblood et al. 1994) was selected to compute the dissimilarity patterns of carabid and geometrid assemblages between plots. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The turnover patterns in species assemblages along gradients of abiotic or biotic conditions are indicative of the assemblages’ sensitivity to changes in these conditions. Studies of such gradients allow an evaluation of the degree of habitat specialization in different taxa, which will strongly affect their ability to react to changes in climatic conditions. Our study was carried at one of the largest mature temperate forests in northeastern China, Changbai Mountain. We establish how strongly shifts in the assemblages of two mega-diverse insect families, ground beetles and geometrid moths, are associated with changes in the vegetation that are indicative of the degree of habitat specialization, in comparison to altitudinal change that is linked to changes in both temperature and precipitation. Overall, altitudinal change exerted a substantially stronger influence on insect species turnover patterns than vegetation changes, with elevation being particularly strongly linked to turnover in carabid and dominant geometrid species. Significant links were recorded between changes in the vegetation and turnover in both insect taxa, but Partial Mantel Tests reveal that the observed links with the vegetation are partly indirect. The results indicate that many species in both taxa are habitat generalists able to thrive in a wide range of plant species assemblages and vegetation structures. This will facilitate climate change-induced shifts in their distribution ranges. Conservation efforts should therefore be strongly focused on the smaller groups of habitat- and host-plant insect specialists, as well as on assemblages associated with mountain top habitats that will be unable to shift their ranges further upward.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of Insect Conservation
  • Source
    • "niche filtering versus dispersal limitation) (Shmida & Wilson, 1985; Mouquet & Loreau, 2003). Therefore, determining patterns of b-diversity and the associated mechanisms maintaining diversity across the landscape can inform the conservation management of vulnerable species and ecological communities (Condit et al., 2002; Ferrier et al., 2007; McKnight et al., 2007). The importance of understanding patterns of b-diversity is becoming increasingly important in stream and river ecosystems, as they are comprised of some of the most imperilled taxonomic groups in the world (Richter et al., 1997; Ricciardi & Rasmussen, 1999; Dudgeon et al., 2006). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Relatively high β-diversity among aquatic insect communities inhabiting high-elevation streams is most commonly presumed to result from increased dispersal limitation between isolated mountaintop 'islands'. However, these elevational patterns of β-diversity have been predominately drawn from observed changes in community composition along single-thread channels, where the downstream increase in habitat size and hydrologic connectivity provides potential alternative explanations. In this study, we applied an alternative conceptual 'tributary model' to ask whether patterns of aquatic insect β-diversity in similar-sized, hydrologically disconnected streams showed a similar elevational gradient in diversity patterns as previously reported for conceptual 'mainstem model' studies. Aquatic insects were sampled from 24 low-order, montane streams that are tributaries to larger rivers in three adjacent catchments spanning c. 2000-3500 m in elevation. We used relative abundance data to quantify two types of β-diversity: (i) community turnover-β, or the change in local diversity among adjacent streams along the elevational gradient within each catchment, and (ii) community variation-β, or the change in local diversity among all streams within three elevation zones combined across catchments. Our results provided evidence of no relationship between β-diversity and elevation in aquatic insect communities in small montane streams. Community turnover-β was found to be consistently high among sites within catchments and displayed no significant trend across the elevational gradient for any catchment. Community variation-β showed a nonlinear response to elevation, with sites in the high-elevation and low-elevation zones having similarly high community variation-β compared to sites in the mid-elevation zone. Our 'tributary model' results provide the first evidence that β-diversity among small, isolated streams can have similar turnover rates across broad elevational gradients. Our results also show similar patterns of β-diversity among low- and high-elevation tributaries, suggesting that dispersal limitation is not restricted to high-elevation streams.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Freshwater Biology
Show more