- Biogeographic, climatic and spatial drivers differentially affect α, β and γ diversities on oceanic archipelagos
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
- Volume | Issue number
- 281 | 1784
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Island biogeographic studies traditionally treat single islands as units of analysis. This ignores the fact that most islands are spatially nested within archipelagos. Here, we took a fundamentally different approach and focused on entire archipelagos using species richness of vascular plants on 23 archipelagos worldwide and their 174 constituent islands. We assessed differential effects of biogeographic factors (area, isolation, age, elevation), current and past climate (temperature, precipitation, seasonality, climate change velocity) and intra-archipelagic spatial structure (archipelago area, number of islands, area range, connectivity, environmental volume, inter-island distance) on plant diversity. Species diversity of each archipelago (γ) was additively partitioned into α, β, nestedness and replacement β-components to investigate the relative importance of environmental and spatial drivers. Multiple regressions revealed strong effects of biogeography and climate on α and γ, whereas spatial factors, particularly number of islands, inter-island distance and area range, were key to explain β. Structural equation models additionally suggested that γ is predominantly determined by indirect abiotic effects via its components, particularly β. This highlights that β and the spatial arrangement of islands are essential to understand insular ecology and evolution. Our methodological framework can be applied more widely to other taxa and archipelago-like systems, allowing new insights into biodiversity origin and maintenance.
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