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Ecology. 2007 Nov;88(11):2830-8.

A multivariate analysis of beta diversity across organisms and environments.

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Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, P.O. Box 65, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland.


We examined variability in hierarchical beta diversity across ecosystems, geographical gradients, and organism groups using multivariate spatial mixed modeling analysis of two independent data sets. The larger data set comprised reported ratios of regional species richness (RSR) to local species richness (LSR) and the second data set consisted of RSR:LSR ratios derived from nested species-area relationships. There was a negative, albeit relatively weak, relationship between beta diversity and latitude. We found only relatively subtle differences in beta diversity among the realms, yet beta diversity was lower in marine systems than in terrestrial or freshwater realms. Beta diversity varied significantly among organisms' major characteristics such as body mass, trophic position, and dispersal type in the larger data set. Organisms that disperse via seeds had highest beta diversity, and passively dispersed organisms showed the lowest beta diversity. Furthermore, autotrophs had lower beta diversity than organisms higher up the food web; omnivores and carnivores had consistently higher beta diversity. This is evidence that beta diversity is simultaneously controlled by extrinsic factors related to geography and environment, and by intrinsic factors related to organism characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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