Altitudinal range-size distribution of breeding birds and environmental factors for the determination of species richness: An empirical test of altitudinal Rapoport's rule and non-directional rescue effect on a local scale.
ABSTRACT: Range-size distributions are important for understanding species richness patterns and led to the development of the controversial Rapoport's rule and Rapoport-rescue effect. This study aimed to understand the relationship between species richness and range-size distribution in relation to environmental factors. The present study tested the following: (1) altitudinal Rapoport's rule, and a subsequent test on climatic and ambient energy hypotheses, (2) non-directional rescue effect, and a subsequent test on effect of environmental factors associated with the distribution of narrowest to widest-range species. Altitudinal species range-size distribution increased with increasing altitude and showed a negative relationship with climatic variables. These results support the altitudinal Rapoport's rule and climatic hypothesis; however, they do not fully support the ambient energy hypothesis. Results from testing the non-directional rescue effect showed that the inflow intensity of species from both directions (high and low elevations) affected species richness. And we found that the species with intermediate range-size, rather than narrowest or widest range-size were the main cause of a mid-peak of species richness and the non-directional rescue effect. Additionally, the richness of species with intermediate range-size was highly related to minimum temperature, habitat heterogeneity, or primary productivity. Although altitudinal range-size distribution results were similar to the phenomenon of altitudinal Rapoport's rule, the mid-peak pattern of species richness could not be explained by the underlying mechanism of Rapoport's-rescue effect; however, the non-directional rescue effect could explain a mid-peak pattern of species richness along altitudinal gradient.
Project description:Insect macroecology and conservation biogeography studies are disproportionately scarce, especially in the Neotropics. Dung beetles are an ideal focal taxon for biodiversity research and conservation. Using distribution and body size data on the ecologically important Phanaeini, the best-known Neotropical dung beetle tribe, we determined elevational patterns of species richness, endemism, body size, and elevational range in Bolivia, specifically testing Bergmann's and Rapoport's rule. Richness of all 39 species and of 15 ecoregional endemics showed a hump-shaped pattern peaking at 400 m, but overall declined strongly with elevation up to 4000 m. The relationship between endemic and total species richness appeared to be curvilinear, providing only partial support for the null hypothesis that species-rich areas are more likely to be centers of endemism by chance alone. An elevational increase in the proportion of ecoregional endemics suggests that deterministic factors also appear to influence endemism in the Andes. When controlling for the effect of area using different species-area relationships, the statistically significant richness peak became more pronounced and shifted upslope to 750 m. Larger species did not have higher elevational mid-points, and mean body size decreased significantly with elevation, contradicting Bergmann's rule. Rapoport's rule was supported: species with higher elevational mid-points had broader elevational ranges, and mean elevational range increased significantly with elevation. The elevational decrease of phanaeine richness is in accordance with studies that demonstrated the combined influence of temperature and water availability on species diversity, but also is consistent with niche conservatism. For invertebrates, confirmation of Rapoport's and refutation of Bergmann's rule appear to be scale-invariant general patterns. Analyses of biogeographic patterns across elevational gradients can provide important insights for identifying conservation priorities. Phanaeines with narrow elevational ranges on isolated low-elevation mountains in eastern Bolivia are at greatest climate-change related extinction risk from range-shift gaps and mountaintop extinctions.
Project description:Understanding the determinants of range location and size is fundamental to our understanding of spatial patterns in species richness. Here, we aimed to test the role of 'climatic stability' in determining latitudinal trends in range size and as a consequence on species richness of tropical woody plants. Using primary data from 156 (0.06 ha) plots comprising 20,400 occurrences of more than 400 species of tropical woody plants, we built a biome-wide species database that covers the entire latitudinal extent of the wet-evergreen forests of the Western Ghats (8o to 20o N), India. We consolidated this database using secondary data from other published species inventories. We then calculated the range sizes and climatic niche width of woody plants to test the predictions of the climatic stability hypothesis and examined the relationship between range position and climatic tolerance of species. Our results show a significant latitudinal gradient in species richness and turnover where local and regional species richness increase monotonically from higher latitudes to lower latitudes of the Western Ghats. We found strong support for Rapoport's Rule with an increase in range size from lower to higher latitudes; our results are consistent with the predictions of the climatic stability hypothesis, where species at higher latitudes exhibited greater tolerance to temperature and rainfall seasonality. Contrary to earlier work, our findings suggest that Rapoport's Rule and the climatic stability hypothesis can operate over regional scales, and even at lower latitudes. We suggest that latitude associated climatic seasonality through its influence on species ranges, can influence latitudinal patterns in species turnover as well as species richness.
Project description:The family Orchidaceae is not only one of the most diverse families of flowering plants, but also one of the most endangered plant taxa. Therefore, understanding how its species richness varies along geographical and environmental gradients is essential for conservation efforts. However, such knowledge is rarely available, especially on a large scale. We used a database extracted from herbarium records to investigate the relationships between orchid species richness and elevation, and to examine how elevational diversity in Yunnan Province, China, might be explained by mid-domain effect (MDE), species-area relationship (SAR), water-energy dynamics (WED), Rapoport's Rule, and climatic variables. This particular location was selected because it is one of the primary centers of distribution for orchids. We recorded 691 species that span 127 genera and account for 88.59% of all confirmed orchid species in Yunnan. Species richness, estimated at 200-m intervals along a slope, was closely correlated with elevation, peaking at 1395 to 1723 m. The elevational pattern of orchid richness was considerably shaped by MDE, SAR, WED, and climate. Among those four predictors, climate was the strongest while MDE was the weakest for predicting the elevational pattern of orchid richness. Species richness showed parabolic responses to mean annual temperature (MAT) and mean annual precipitation (MAP), with maximum richness values recorded at 13.7 to 17.7°C for MAT and 1237 to 1414 mm for MAP. Rapoport's Rule also helped to explain the elevational pattern of species richness in Yunnan, but those influences were not entirely uniform across all methods. These results suggested that the elevational pattern of orchid species richness in Yunnan is collectively shaped by several mechanisms related to geometric constraints, size of the land area, and environments. Because of the dominant role of climate in determining orchid richness, our findings may contribute to a better understanding of the potential effects of climate change on orchid diversity, and the development of conservation strategies for orchids.
Project description:The freshwater mussels from Chile are characterized by a high percentage of endemism and a fragmented latitudinal diversity, which has been attributed to the features and geomorphological history sculpted by the hydrographic basins. In this work, a set of hypothesis under a macroecological approach is addressed, with the aim to explore environmental, topographic and hydrological factors that define the latitudinal distribution of this mussel group. In order to achieve this goal, Rapoport's rule, geometrics limits and co-ocurrence were evaluated. In addition, we analyze the source and sink hypotheses through the nested analysis. We observed a noticeable mid-domain effect (MDE), where a major richness than expected was randomly observed between 40 and 41°S. The results revealed that the distribution pattern was not concordant with Rapoport's rule (r = 0.123; p = 0.128). Regarding to historical dynamic of the distribution, the results show a significant nestedness pattern, suggesting a source-sink dynamic, that is, poorer communities are a subset of richer communities in species. According to the co-occurrence analysis, an aggregate pattern existed, suggesting potential regulatory mechanisms. The specific richness pattern is explained by the variable seasonality of the temperature with a variance percentage explained of 35%. The full model indicated that variables which characterize the heterogeneity of habitat (i.e. range, Shannon), water availability (i.e., precipitation, density of water bodies) and topography (i.e., altitude area available) jointly explain 40% of the variability of the observed richness. This study shows that the geographical distribution of mollusc richness is mainly explained by mainly climatic and topographical environmental components, as well as by the source-sink dynamics.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Understanding altitudinal patterns of biological diversity and their underlying mechanisms is critically important for biodiversity conservation in mountainous regions. The contribution of area to plant diversity patterns is widely acknowledged and may mask the effects of other determinant factors. In this context, it is important to examine altitudinal patterns of corrected taxon richness by eliminating the area effect. Here we adopt two methods to correct observed taxon richness: a power-law relationship between richness and area, hereafter "method 1"; and richness counted in equal-area altitudinal bands, hereafter "method 2". We compare these two methods on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, which is the nearest large-scale altitudinal gradient to the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere. RESULTS:We find that seed plant species richness, genus richness, family richness, and species richness of trees, shrubs, herbs and Groups I-III (species with elevational range size <150, between 150 and 500, and >500 m, respectively) display distinct hump-shaped patterns along the equal-elevation altitudinal gradient. The corrected taxon richness based on method 2 (TRcor2) also shows hump-shaped patterns for all plant groups, while the one based on method 1 (TRcor1) does not. As for the abiotic factors influencing the patterns, mean annual temperature, mean annual precipitation, and mid-domain effect explain a larger part of the variation in TRcor2 than in TRcor1. CONCLUSIONS:In conclusion, for biodiversity patterns on the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, method 2 preserves the significant influences of abiotic factors to the greatest degree while eliminating the area effect. Our results thus reveal that although the classical method 1 has earned more attention and approval in previous research, method 2 can perform better under certain circumstances. We not only confirm the essential contribution of method 1 in community ecology, but also highlight the significant role of method 2 in eliminating the area effect, and call for more application of method 2 in further macroecological studies.
Project description:Understanding diversity patterns along environmental gradients and their underlying mechanisms is a major topic in current biodiversity research. In this study, we investigate for the first time elevational patterns of vascular plant species richness and endemism on a long-isolated continental island (Crete) that has experienced extensive post-isolation mountain uplift. We used all available data on distribution and elevational ranges of the Cretan plants to interpolate their presence between minimum and maximum elevations in 100-m elevational intervals, along the entire elevational gradient of Crete (0-2400 m). We evaluate the influence of elevation, area, mid-domain effect, elevational Rapoport effect and the post-isolation mountain uplift on plant species richness and endemism elevational patterns. Furthermore, we test the influence of the island condition and the post-isolation mountain uplift to the elevational range sizes of the Cretan plants, using the Peloponnese as a continental control area. Total species richness monotonically decreases with increasing elevation, while endemic species richness has a unimodal response to elevation showing a peak at mid-elevation intervals. Area alone explains a significant amount of variation in species richness along the elevational gradient. Mid-domain effect is not the underlying mechanism of the elevational gradient of plant species richness in Crete, and Rapoport's rule only partly explains the observed patterns. Our results are largely congruent with the post-isolation uplift of the Cretan mountains and their colonization mainly by the available lowland vascular plant species, as high-elevation specialists are almost lacking from the Cretan flora. The increase in the proportion of Cretan endemics with increasing elevation can only be regarded as a result of diversification processes towards Cretan mountains (especially mid-elevation areas), supported by elevation-driven ecological isolation. Cretan plants have experienced elevational range expansion compared to the continental control area, as a result of ecological release triggered by increased species impoverishment with increasing elevation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Understanding diversity patterns and the mechanisms underlying those patterns along elevational gradients is critically important for conservation efforts in montane ecosystems, especially those that are biodiversity hotspots. Despite recent advances, consensus on the underlying causes, or even the relative influence of a suite of factors on elevational diversity patterns has remained elusive. METHODS AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We examined patterns of species richness, density and range size distribution of birds, and the suite of biotic and abiotic factors (primary productivity, habitat variables, climatic factors and geometric constraints) that governs diversity along a 4500-m elevational gradient in the Eastern Himalayan region, a biodiversity hotspot within the world's tallest mountains. We used point count methods for sampling birds and quadrats for estimating vegetation at 22 sites along the elevational gradient. We found that species richness increased to approximately 2000 m, then declined. We found no evidence that geometric constraints influenced this pattern, whereas actual evapotranspiration (a surrogate for primary productivity) and various habitat variables (plant species richness, shrub density and basal area of trees) accounted for most of the variation in bird species richness. We also observed that ranges of most bird species were narrow along the elevation gradient. We find little evidence to support Rapoport's rule for the birds of Sikkim region of the Himalaya. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This study in the Eastern Himalaya indicates that species richness of birds is highest at intermediate elevations along one of the most extensive elevational gradients ever examined. Additionally, primary productivity and factors associated with habitat accounted for most of the variation in avian species richness. The diversity peak at intermediate elevations and the narrow elevational ranges of most species suggest important conservation implications: not only should mid-elevation areas be conserved, but the entire gradient requires equal conservation attention.
Project description:Large-scale patterns of current species geographic range-size variation reflect historical dynamics of dispersal and provide insights into future consequences under changing environments. Evidence suggests that climate warming exerts major damage on high latitude and elevation organisms, where changes are more severe and available space to disperse tracking historical niches is more limited. Species with longer generations (slower adaptive responses), such as vertebrates, and with restricted distributions (lower genetic diversity, higher inbreeding) in these environments are expected to be particularly threatened by warming crises. However, a well-known macroecological generalization (Rapoport's rule) predicts that species range-sizes increase with increasing latitude-elevation, thus counterbalancing the impact of climate change. Here, I investigate geographic range-size variation across an extreme environmental gradient and as a function of body size, in the prominent Liolaemus lizard adaptive radiation. Conventional and phylogenetic analyses revealed that latitudinal (but not elevational) ranges significantly decrease with increasing latitude-elevation, while body size was unrelated to range-size. Evolutionarily, these results are insightful as they suggest a link between spatial environmental gradients and range-size evolution. However, ecologically, these results suggest that Liolaemus might be increasingly threatened if, as predicted by theory, ranges retract and contract continuously under persisting climate warming, potentially increasing extinction risks at high latitudes and elevations.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Studying diversity and distribution patterns of species along elevational gradients and understanding drivers behind these patterns is central to macroecology and conservation biology. A number of studies on biogeographic gradients are available for terrestrial ecosystems, but freshwater ecosystems remain largely neglected. In particular, we know very little about the species richness gradients and their drivers in the Himalaya, a global biodiversity hotspot.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We collated taxonomic and distribution data of fish species from 16 freshwater Himalayan rivers and carried out empirical studies on environmental drivers and fish diversity and distribution in the Teesta river (Eastern Himalaya). We examined patterns of fish species richness along the Himalayan elevational gradients (50-3800 m) and sought to understand the drivers behind the emerging patterns. We used generalized linear models (GLM) and generalized additive models (GAM) to examine the richness patterns; GLM was used to investigate relationship between fish species richness and various environmental variables. Regression modelling involved stepwise procedures, including elimination of collinear variables, best model selection, based on the least Akaike's information criterion (AIC) and the highest percentage of deviance explained (D(2)). This maiden study on the Himalayan fishes revealed that total and non-endemic fish species richness monotonously decrease with increasing elevation, while endemics peaked around mid elevations (700-1500 m). The best explanatory model (synthetic model) indicated that water discharge is the best predictor of fish species richness patterns in the Himalayan rivers.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>This study, carried out along one of the longest bioclimatic elevation gradients of the world, lends support to Rapoport's elevational rule as opposed to mid domain effect hypothesis. We propose a species-discharge model and contradict species-area model in predicting fish species richness. We suggest that drivers of richness gradients in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are likely to be different. These studies are crucial in context of the impacts of unprecedented on-going river regulation on fish diversity and distribution in the Himalaya.
Project description:Bird species richness is mediated by local, regional, and historical factors, for example, competition, environmental heterogeneity, contemporary, and historical climate. Here, we related bird species richness with phylogenetic relatedness of bird assemblages, plant species richness, topography, contemporary climate, and glacial-interglacial climate change to investigate the relative importance of these factors. This study was conducted in Inner Mongolia, an arid and semiarid region with diverse vegetation types and strong species richness gradients. The following associated variables were included as follows: phylogenetic relatedness of bird assemblages (Net Relatedness Index, NRI), plant species richness, altitudinal range, contemporary climate (mean annual temperature and precipitation, MAT and MAP), and contemporary-Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) change in climate (change in MAT and change in MAP). Ordinary least squares linear, simultaneous autoregressive linear, and Random Forest models were used to assess the associations between these variables and bird species richness across this region. We found that bird species richness was correlated negatively with NRI and positively with plant species richness and altitudinal range, with no significant correlations with contemporary climate and glacial-interglacial climate change. The six best combinations of variables ranked by Random Forest models consistently included NRI, plant species richness, and contemporary-LGM change in MAT. Our results suggest important roles of local ecological factors in shaping the distribution of bird species richness across this semiarid region. Our findings highlight the potential importance of these local ecological factors, for example, environmental heterogeneity, habitat filtering, and biotic interactions, in biodiversity maintenance.