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DETERMINANTS OF VASCULAR PLANT SPECIES RICHNESS
IN THE TROPICAL ANDES


Understanding the factors that govern geographic patterns of species richness is a central issue in ecology and evolutionary biology that has major consequences for the theory and practice of conservation biology. Being able to predict richness patterns by correlating them with environmental or historical factors would greatly enhance efforts for conserving hotspots, or areas of high species richness. Our study used over ca. 366,000 plant specimen records from the Missouri Botanical Garden’s TROPICOS database to test the correlation of climate, habitat, and topographic factors with patterns of species richness in the Tropical Andes.

Regression analyses allowed us to determine which factors (energy and water availability, spatial heterogeneity, regional and historical effects) best explain variation in species richness across the western Neotropics. Results from these analyses allowed us to predict plant richness in areas with poorly sampled floras.

Determinants of vascular plant species richness in the Tropical Andes Species richness for 100 km x 100 km areas that
contain at least 500 plant collections. Richness ranges
from low (blue) to high (red). Notice the abundance
of red cells along the Tropical Andes.


For more information, contact
Iván Jiménez

ANALYSIS UNIT


Director, CCSD, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166 Phone: (314) 577-0871 CCSD@mobot.org © 2014