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Bryophyte diversity and range size distribution along two altitudinal gradients: Continent vs. island

Abstract : We compare patterns of bryophyte diversity and variation in species altitudinal ranges between a continental and an island altitudinal gradient. We use our ecological data set along the highest summit (Piton des Neiges, 3069 m) of Réunion Island (Mascarene archipelago) and compare it to available published data of another high volcanic massif in Colombia (Nevado del Ruiz, 5321 m). The distribution of narrow-ranged and large-ranged species was investigated. We tested the effect of geometric constraints on species distribution along the two gradients by comparing empirical to predicted data using the Mid-Domain Null Programme (McCain, 2004). Species richness was comparable between the island and continental gradient for epiphytic bryophytes, 265 and 295 species respectively. The comparison between the two tropical high mountains demonstrates important differences in the distribution of range sizes with altitude and a dominance of species with small range sizes on the Réunion gradient. For the island gradient, mean altitudinal range increases with altitude whilst concurrently species richness decreases revealing a Rapoport effect in altitudinal distribution of bryophyte communities. Geometric constraints did not explain much of the species richness pattern for the island. Conversely, for the continental gradient, dominated by large-ranged species, geometric constraints could not be ruled out as a primary structuring feature for the species richness pattern. This study also highlights that the island's cloud forest hosts not only high species richness but also high number of rare species, which is of prime interest for conservation planners.
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Contributor : Claire Tessier Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:02:03 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 4:20:11 PM



Claudine Ah-Peng, Nicholas Wilding, Juergen Kluge, Blandine Descamps-Julien, Jacques Bardat, et al.. Bryophyte diversity and range size distribution along two altitudinal gradients: Continent vs. island. Acta Oecologica, 2012, 42, pp.58--65. ⟨10.1016/j.actao.2012.04.010⟩. ⟨hal-01199336⟩



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