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Data from: Patterns of biodiverse, understudied groups do not mirror those of the surrogate groups that set conservation priorities: a case study from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of eastern North America

Citation

Dorey, Jenna E.; Lendemer, James C.; Naczi, Robert F.C. (2018), Data from: Patterns of biodiverse, understudied groups do not mirror those of the surrogate groups that set conservation priorities: a case study from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of eastern North America, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5mk37

Abstract

We conducted biodiversity inventories of lichens, woody plants, and sedges at 32 sites on the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of eastern North America between November 2012 and June 2015. Each site comprised a single, uniform habitat, and sites were classified as: Coastal Plain Floodplain forest, Coastal Plain Flatwood swamp, Coastal Plain Oak-Pine forest, Maritime forest, Mixed Mesic Hardwood forest, or Tidal forest. We compared alpha diversity and community assemblages of each organismal group across the sites, and compared selected minimal reserve sets in order to visualize biodiversity patterns and assess whether specific components of vascular plants (sedges and woody plants) serve as an effective surrogate for lichens. Woody plants provide a direct substrate for lichen growth, but there was no significant correlation between the alpha diversity of these groups. For conserving maximal species richness among the studied groups, lichens outperformed the sedges and woody plants as the better surrogate group for building minimum reserve sets, even though vascular plants are more commonly used as a surrogate. Likewise, sedge alpha diversity was not correlated with lichens, or with woody plants. Although no group was an effective indicator for high alpha diversity sites of other organisms, a significant correlation between the community assemblages of lichens and woody plants suggests that protecting varied types of plant communities might serve as a workable surrogate for protecting lichens. The lack of congruence between species richness patterns across organismal groups suggests that the mechanisms that shape patterns of diversity are not identical, and that identifying and incorporating specific biodiversity indicators for understudied groups into conservation policy is necessary to ensure their protection.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: US NSF DEB-1145511

Location

Delmarva
Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain
United States
Delaware
North America
Maryland
Virginia