Area-corrected species richness patterns of vascular plants along a tropical elevational gradient Area-corrected species richness patterns of vascular plants along a tropical elevational gradient

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Vol14 No.4: 694-704

Title】Area-corrected species richness patterns of vascular plants along a tropical elevational gradient

Author】XU Xiang1, 2; ZHANG Hua-yong1*; LUO Jian1; ZHANG Dong-jie1; MA Athen2

Addresses】1 North China Electric Power University, Research Center for Engineering Ecology and Nonlinear Science, Beijing 102206, China; 2 Queen Mary University of London, School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, Mile End Road, London, E14NS, United Kingdom

Corresponding author】rceens@ncepu.edu.cn

Citation】Xu X, Zhang HY, Luo J, et al. (2017) Area-corrected species richness patterns of vascular plants along a tropical elevational gradient. Journal of Mountain Science 14(4). DOI: 10.1007/s11629-016-3894-6

DOI】10.1007/s11629-016-3894-6

Abstract】The relationship between species richness and elevation is a hot issue in ecology and has been documented extensively. It is widely accepted that area size can significantly affect  this relationship and thus  mask the effects of other predictors. Despite the importance of the relationshipbetween species richness and elevation while accounting for the area effect, it is insufficiently studied. Here, we evaluated area-corrected species richness patterns of all vascular plants as well as six vascular plant subgroups (seed plants, ferns, trees, shrubs, herbsand vines) along a tropical elevational gradient (Hainan Island, China). If assessed in equal-elevation bands, uncorrected species richness showed bell-shaped curves, while area-corrected species richness assessed in equal-area bands appeared to increase monotonically due to the small proportion of highlands on Hainan Island. The mid-domain effect (MDE) was significantly correlated with both uncorrected and area-corrected species richness. On Hainan Island, the use of equal-area elevational bands increased the explanatory power of MDE. These findings provide useful insights to adjust for the area effect and highlight the need to use equal-area bands along the elevational gradient.

Keywords】Hainan Island; Species-area relationship; Mid-domain effect; Vascular plant diversity; Growth form