Montane Species (montane + species)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Why do mountains support so many species of birds?

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 3 2008
Adriana Ruggiero
Although topographic complexity is often associated with high bird diversity at broad geographic scales, little is known about the relative contributions of geomorphologic heterogeneity and altitudinal climatic gradients found in mountains. We analysed the birds in the western mountains of the New World to examine the two-fold effect of topography on species richness patterns, using two grains at the intercontinental extent and within temperate and tropical latitudes. Birds were also classified as montane or lowland, based on their overall distributions in the hemisphere. We estimated range in temperature within each cell and the standard deviation in elevation (topographic roughness) based on all pixels within each cell. We used path analysis to test for the independent effects of topographic roughness and temperature range on species richness while controlling for the collinearity between topographic variables. At the intercontinental extent, actual evapotranspiration (AET) was the primary driver of species richness patterns of all species taken together and of lowland species considered separately. In contrast, within-cell temperature gradients strongly influenced the richness of montane species. Regional partitioning of the data also suggested that range in temperature either by itself or acting in combination with AET had the strongest "effect" on montane bird species richness everywhere. Topographic roughness had weaker "effects" on richness variation throughout, although its positive relationship with richness increased slightly in the tropics. We conclude that bird diversity gradients in mountains primarily reflect local climatic gradients. Widespread (lowland) species and narrow-ranged (montane) species respond similarly to changes in the environment, differing only in that the richness of lowland species correlates better with broad-scale climatic effects (AET), whereas mesoscale climatic variation accounts for richness patterns of montane species. Thus, latitudinal and altitudinal gradients in species richness can be explained through similar climatic-based processes, as has long been argued. [source]

Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants

Abstract Plant species have responded to recent increases in global temperatures by shifting their geographical ranges poleward and to higher altitudes. Bioclimate models project future range contractions of montane species as suitable climate space shifts uphill. The species,climate relationships underlying such models are calibrated using data at either ,macro' scales (coarse resolution, e.g. 50 km 50 km, and large spatial extent) or ,local' scales (fine resolution, e.g. 50 m 50 m, and small spatial extent), but the two approaches have not been compared. This study projected macro (European) and local models for vascular plants at a mountain range in Scotland, UK, under low (+1.7 C) and high (+3.3 C) climate change scenarios for the 2080s. Depending on scenario, the local models projected that seven or eight out of 10 focal montane species would lose all suitable climate space at the site. However, the European models projected such a loss for only one species. The cause of this divergence was investigated by cross-scale comparisons of estimated temperatures at montane species' warm range edges. The results indicate that European models overestimated species' thermal tolerances because the input coarse resolution climate data were biased against the cold, high-altitude habitats of montane plants. Although tests at other mountain ranges are required, these results indicate that recent large-scale modelling studies may have overestimated montane species' ability to cope with increasing temperatures, thereby underestimating the potential impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the results suggest that montane species persistence in microclimatic refugia might not be as widespread as previously speculated. [source]

Current and historical factors influencing patterns of species richness and turnover of birds in the Gulf of Guinea highlands

Catherine H. Graham
Abstract Aim, The aims of this paper are to: examine how current and historical ecological factors affect patterns of species richness, endemism and turnover in the Gulf of Guinea highlands, test theoretical biogeographical predictions and provide information for making informed conservation decisions. Location, The Gulf of Guinea highlands in West Africa. Methods, We used multivariate and matrix regression models, and cluster analyses to assess the influence of current climate and current and historical isolation on patterns of richness and turnover for montane birds across the highlands. We examined three groups of birds: montane species (including widespread species), montane endemics and endemic subspecies. We applied a complementarity-based reserve selection algorithm using species richness with irreplaceability measures to identify areas of high conservation concern. Results, Environmental factors influenced richness for all groups of birds (species, endemic species and subspecies). Areas with high and consistent annual rainfall showed the highest species and endemic richness. Species clusters for all groups of birds generally differentiated three major montane regions, which are topographically isolated. Multiple mantel tests identified these same regions for endemic species and subspecies. The influence of historical isolation varied by species group; distributions of endemic montane species and subspecies were more associated with historical breaks than were all montane species, which included widespread non-endemic species. Main conclusions, Our analyses indicated important geographical structure amongst the bird assemblages in the highlands and, therefore, conservation prioritization should include mountains from within the geographical subregions identified in these analyses because these regions may harbour evolutionarily distinct populations of birds. [source]

What causes the vulnerability of endemic animals?

A case study from Sri Lanka
Abstract Around the world, endemic species with restricted ranges seem to be at particular risk of extinction. When range size is controlled, lowland continental species may be especially at risk, more so than island or montane species. Our study aimed to investigate reasons behind the high vulnerability of endemic species. In Sri Lanka, large-scale national surveys and intensive localized fieldwork established that endemic plant and animal species are mostly associated with undisturbed rainforest habitats. On the other hand, non-endemic species used both forest and non-forest habitats almost equally, suggesting they are less likely to suffer from deleterious edge effects. To understand the different distribution of endemic and non-endemic species, our study focused on rats. Compared to the widespread species, the endemic rat species had a larger home range and fed on fewer species of forest fruit, possibly indicating greater specialization. The abundance of the endemic species was also negatively correlated with the abundance of the non-endemic species, to which it was behaviourally subordinate. Greater specialization and competitive inferiority could both contribute to the vulnerability of endemic species. [source]