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Articles
Published: 2020-12-31

Diversity partitioning and community structure of epiphytic bryophytes along an elevational gradient in the north-eastern Madagascar

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa Association Vahatra, BP 3972, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre, Antananarivo 101, Madagascar Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, Box 461, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa
UMR PVBMT, Université de La Réunion, 7 Chemin de l’IRAT, 97410 Saint-Pierre, La Réunion, France
alpha-diversity beta-diversity liverworts mosses species turnover

Abstract

Understanding spatial variation in species composition of different communities is key to understanding the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity. The partitioning of diversity into hierarchical scale-related components is an interesting approach to quantitatively defining the overall net biodiversity from hierarchically scaled studies and is a useful method in studies of conservation biology and restoration. This paper deals with the additive partitioning of the overall diversity and the partitioning of beta-diversity of epiphytic bryophytes along an elevational gradient in Madagascar. The aim is to describe the variation in species composition between sites and to elucidate why different species occur in different communities in the Marojejy National Park (250–2050 m). We looked at the contribution of α and β diversity to total diversity were calculated from four hierarchical scales: microhabitat (50 cm2), quadrat (4 m2), plot (100 m2) and elevation (every 200 m). Furthermore, we documented how the two components of beta-diversity (turnover and nestedness) are influenced by variation in elevation. Our result suggests that more variation in species richness was found within the elevational scales, than within microplot scales, confirming that beta diversity at the largest sampling scale is the largest contributor to the total diversity. It indicates that bryophyte species among sample within each level are a subsample of the same species pool. This study shows evidence that the beta-diversity of epiphytic bryophyte assemblages is dominated by high spatial turnover due to recruitment of new species along the Marojejy transect, a clear pattern for mountains.