Water and energy availability mediate biodiversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the tropical Andes

2022 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Water and energy availability mediate biodiversity patterns along an elevational gradient in the tropical Andes​
Tolmos, M. L.; Kreft, H.; Ramirez, J.; Ospina, R. & Craven, D.​ (2022) 
Journal of Biogeography49(4) pp. 712​-726​.​ DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14332 

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Tolmos, Maria Laura; Kreft, Holger; Ramirez, Jorge; Ospina, Román; Craven, Dylan
Abstract Aim How tree taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity vary with elevation at multiple spatial scales may provide new insights into the ecological and evolutionary processes influencing biogeographical patterns. The effect of water‐ and energy‐related climatic variables on forests diversity across elevations, as well as how clades have evolved on and established across mountain regions lack consensus. Here, we tested whether changes in biodiversity with elevation are consistent with one of, or multiple, competing hypotheses: the water–energy dynamics (WED), species–energy relationship (SER), Tropical Niche Conservatism (TNC) and Out of The Tropics hypothesis (OTT). Location Patia watershed, Colombia Taxon Seed plants (trees) Methods We used a large dataset of 490 0.1 ha forest plots in nine elevational belts (545–3410 m a.s.l) that correspond to three different life zones, and quantified alpha and gamma scales using taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity indices. We fitted linear mixed‐effects models to evaluate how taxonomic and phylogenetic alpha diversity changed with elevation, precipitation and aboveground biomass. We assessed taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity using the Sørensen index and its spatial turnover and nestedness components. Results Taxonomic and phylogenetic alpha diversity decrease with elevation. Yet, at the gamma scale, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity predominantly increased with elevation. Taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity were strongly influenced by species turnover, and followed a hump‐shaped pattern with elevation. Main conclusions Overall, diversity shows a decreasing trend at the local scale, while coarse‐scale gamma diversity followed a pattern of nonlinear increases for both taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity. Evidence supports the influence of SER and WED on diversity patterns across elevations, yet neither evolutionary hypotheses had sufficient empirical support to be conclusive.
Issue Date
Journal of Biogeography 
Zentrum für Biodiversität und Nachhaltige Landnutzung ; Fakultät für Forstwissenschaften und Waldökologie ; Burckhardt-Institut ; Abteilung Biodiversität, Makroökologie und Biogeographie 
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001655
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100002850
Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100004350



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