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Linking global turnover of species and environments.

TitleLinking global turnover of species and environments.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBuckley LB, Jetz W
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date Published2008 Nov 18
KeywordsAfrica, Central, Amphibians, Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Ecosystem, Environment, Least-Squares Analysis

<p>Patterns of species turnover are central to the geography of biodiversity and resulting challenges for conservation, but at broad scales remain relatively little understood. Here, we take a first spatially-explicitly and global perspective to link the spatial turnover of species and environments. We compare how major groups of vertebrate ectotherms (amphibians) and endotherms (birds) respond to spatial environmental gradients. We find that high levels of species turnover occur regardless of environmental turnover rates, but environmental turnover provides a lower bound for species turnover. This lower bound increases more steeply with environmental turnover in tropical realms. While bird and amphibian turnover rates are correlated, the rate of amphibian turnover is four times steeper than bird rates. This is the same factor by which average geographic ranges of birds are larger than those of amphibians. Narrow-ranged birds exhibit rapid rates of species turnover similar to those for amphibians, while wide-ranged birds largely drive the aggregate patterns of avian turnover. We confirm a strong influence of the environment on species turnover that is mediated by range sizes and regional history. In contrast to geographic patterns of species richness, we find that the turnover in one group (amphibians) is a much better predictor for the turnover in another (birds) than is environment. This result confirms the role of amphibian sensitivity to environmental conditions for patterns of turnover and supports their value as a surrogate group. This spatially-explicit analysis of environmental turnover provides understanding for conservation planning in changing environments.</p>

Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.