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Small mammal species richness and turnover along elevational gradient in Yulong Mountain, Yunnan, Southwest China

Cite this dataset

Chen, Zhongzheng et al. (2021). Small mammal species richness and turnover along elevational gradient in Yulong Mountain, Yunnan, Southwest China [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding the species diversity patterns along elevational gradients is critical for biodiversity conservation in mountainous regions. We examined the elevational patterns of species richness and turnover, and evaluated the effects of spatial and environmental factors on non-volant small mammals (hereafter ‘small mammal’) predicted a priori by alternative hypotheses [Mid-domain effect (MDE), species area relationship (SAR), energy, environmental stability and habitat complexity)] proposed to explain the variation of diversity. We designed a standardized sampling scheme to trap small mammals at ten elevational bands across the entire elevational gradient on Yulong Mountain, Southwest China. A total of 1808 small mammals representing 23 species were trapped. We observed the hump-shaped distribution pattern of the overall species richness along elevational gradient. Insectivores, rodents, large-ranged species and endemic species richness showed the general hump-shaped pattern but peaked at different elevations, whereas the small-ranged species and endemic species favored the decreasing richness pattern. The MDE and the energy hypothesis were supported, whereas little support was found for the SAR, the environmental stability hypothesis and the habitat complexity. However, the primary driver(s) for richness patterns differed among the partitioning groups, with NDVI (the normalized difference vegetation index) and MDE were the most important variables for the total richness pattern. Species turnover for all small mammal groups increased with elevation, and it supported a decrease of community similarity with elevational distance. Our results emphasized for increased conservation efforts in the higher elevation regions of the Yulong Mountain.


A total of ten elevational sampling bands were establishedand along the Yulong Mountain from 2550 to 4250 m. We trapped small mammals using standardized techniques, and recorded the ecological variables (i.e.the temperature, humidity data and plant species richness) from each sampling site.

Usage notes

This dataset contains a copy of the data files used for this paper.


National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), Award: 2017YFC0505200

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31900318

The Natural Science Foundation of the Anhui Higher Education Institutions, Award: KJ2019A0486