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Latitudinal Diversity Gradients and Rapoport Effects in Chinese Endemic Woody Seed Plants

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Liu, H; Yu, RY; Huang, JH; Liu, YB; Zang, RG; Guo, ZJ; Ding, Y; Lu, XH; Li, Q; Chen, HYH

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2020

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11

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The distribution of plant species diversity has long been a major focus on biogeography. Yet, the universality of the popular Rapoport's rule remains controversial for endemic plants, as previous studies have focused more on broad-ranged species. Here, we collected data for 4418 endemic woody seed plant species across China, including trees, shrubs, and lianas, to explore the latitudinal patterns of species range size and richness, and test the relevant biogeographic law. The species range size distribution was examined for conformity with Rapoport's rule using four methods (i.e., Steven's, Pagel's, the mid-point, and the across-species method). Spatial patterns of species richness along latitudinal gradient were also investigated by parabolic regression. Results showed that species range size increased with latitude for all species as well as by trees, shrubs and lianas, especially assessed by Pagel's method. Species richness was highest at low latitude, where species range size was smallest, and decreased with increasing latitude. The species range size and richness of shrubs were maximum, followed by trees then lianas. These findings prove that Rapoport's rule is strongly supported by latitudinal patterns of species distribution in Chinese endemic woody seed plants.

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