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Data from: Age and area predict patterns of species richness in pumice rafts contingent on oceanic climatic zone encountered

Citation

Velasquez, Eleanor et al. (2019), Data from: Age and area predict patterns of species richness in pumice rafts contingent on oceanic climatic zone encountered, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.20r509g

Abstract

The Theory of Island Biogeography predicts that area and age explain species richness patterns (or alpha diversity) in insular habitats. Using a unique natural phenomenon, pumice rafting, we measured the influence of area, age and oceanic climate on patterns of species richness. Pumice rafts are formed simultaneously when submarine volcanoes erupt, the pumice clasts break-up irregularly, forming irregularly shaped pumice stones which while floating through the ocean are colonised by marine biota. We analyse two eruption events and more than 5000 pumice clasts collected from 29 sites and three climatic zones. Overall the older and larger pumice clasts held more species. Pumice clasts arriving in tropical and subtropical climates showed this same trend, where in temperate locations species richness (alpha diversity) increased with area but decreased with age. Beta diversity analysis of the communities forming on pumice clasts that arrived in different climatic zones showed that tropical and subtropical clasts transported similar communities while species composition on temperate clasts differed significantly from both tropical and subtropical arrivals. Using these thousands of insular habitats, we find strong evidence that area and age but also climatic conditions predict the fundamental dynamics of species richness colonising pumice clasts.

Usage Notes

Location

Australia
South-western Pacific