Floristic diversity, composition and dominance across Amazonian forest types respond differently to latitude

Julia G. de Aledo, Mara Paneghel, Luis Cayuela, Laura Matas-Granados, Celina Ben Saadi, Norma Salinas, María de los Ángeles La Torre-Cuadros, Roosevelt García-Villacorta, Manuel J. Macía

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aim: The latitudinal biodiversity gradient is considered a first-order biogeographical pattern for most taxonomic groups. Latitudinal variation in plant diversity is not always consistent, and this could be related to the particular characteristics of different forest types. In this study, we compare latitudinal changes in floristic diversity (alpha diversity), composition (beta diversity) and dominance across different tropical forest types: floodplain, terra firme and submontane forests. Location: Western Amazonia (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia). Taxon: Woody plants. Methods: We inventoried 1978 species and 31,203 individuals of vascular plants with a diameter at breast height ≥ 2.5 cm in 118 0.1-ha plots over an 1800 km latitudinal gradient in three different forest types. The relationships between alpha diversity, latitude and forest type were analysed using generalised linear mixed models. Semi-parametric permutational multivariate analysis of variance was used to investigate the effects of latitude and forest type on beta diversity. Dominant species abundances were correlated with non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination axes to reflect their contributions in shaping changes in beta diversity. Results: Alpha diversity increased towards equatorial latitudes in terra firme and submontane forests but remained relatively constant in floodplains. Beta diversity of all forest types changed with latitude, although less clearly in floodplains. Also, in floodplain forests, there were fewer dominant species contributing to beta diversity and more species homogeneous along the gradient. Main Conclusions: Latitudinal diversity patterns are manifested in alpha and beta diversity since latitude summarizes climatic and edaphic changes. However, we found different responses of each forest type. In floodplain forests, inundation regime is a stronger predictor than latitude, limiting floristic diversity and composition. Changes in dominant species abundance over gradients explained species composition, but floodplain forests harboured more homogeneous dominant species than well drained forests. It is key to study environmental trends and habitat characteristics of each forest type to understand their species diversity and dominance patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-698
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • climatic seasonality
  • environmental limitations
  • latitudinal diversity gradient
  • seasonal flooding
  • soil heterogeneity
  • species abundance
  • tropical forests
  • turnover
  • woody plants distribution

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