Patterns and drivers of species richness and turnover of neo-endemic and palaeo-endemic vascular plants in a Mediterranean hotspot: the case of Crete, Greece

Published on 2019-11-06T05:13:20Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background Exploring species richness and turnover patterns and their drivers can provide new insights into underlying mechanisms shaping community assembly, with significant implications for biodiversity conservation. Here, we explored diversity patterns of non-endemic, neo-endemic and palaeo-endemic vascular plants in Crete, Greece, a Mediterranean hotspot of plant richness and endemism. We evaluated the relationship between Îą-diversity and environmental (bioclimatic variables, topography), and anthropogenic variables by Generalized Additive Models, after accounting for spatial autocorrelation. Then, we quantified turnover using the novel concept of zeta diversity (the number of shared species by multiple sites), a framework which allows to explore the full spectrum of compositional turnover, the contribution of rare and widespread species to observed patterns and the underlying processes shaping them. Finally, we explored the abiotic and biotic effects, i.e. how well one category of species (non-endemics, palaeo-endemics, neo-endemics) predicts the patterns of the other categories, on zeta diversity by multi-site Generalized Dissimilarity Modelling. Results We found a strong correlation between neo-endemic and palaeo-endemic Îą-diversity, with climate, topography, and human impact driving species richness. Zeta diversity analysis revealed a sharper decrease of shared palaeo-endemic species, followed by neo-endemics, and then by non-endemics with the number of sites considered to estimate compositional turnover. Perhaps, the narrow distributions of palaeo-endemics as relict species and often habitat specialists, thus persisting locally, and of neo-endemics that may have not reached yet their potential geographical range, resulted in the observed zeta diversity decline pattern. Deterministic processes controlled species turnover of rare non-endemic and neo-endemic species, while deterministic and stochastic processes contributed similarly to palaeo-endemic turnover. However, stochasticity dominates in the case of widespread species in all occasions. The environmental and anthropogenic variables were poor predictors of compositional turnover, especially of widespread species. However, the non-endemic species composition was correlated to rare palaeo-endemics and neo-endemics, highlighting the importance of biotic effects in driving turnover patterns. Conclusions It seems that centers of neo-endemism of vascular plants coincide with centers of palaeo-endemism in Crete, but species richness and species turnover are shaped by different drivers.

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Lazarina, Maria; Kallimanis, Athanasios; Dimopoulos, Panayotis; Psaralexi, Maria; Michailidou, Danai-Eleni; Sgardelis, Stefanos (2019): Patterns and drivers of species richness and turnover of neo-endemic and palaeo-endemic vascular plants in a Mediterranean hotspot: the case of Crete, Greece. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4726415.v1