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Sampling plot × species matrix from: Climate-driven elevational variation in range sizes of vascular plants in the central Himalayas: a supporting case for Rapoport’s rule

Citation

Liang, Jianchao (2022), Sampling plot × species matrix from: Climate-driven elevational variation in range sizes of vascular plants in the central Himalayas: a supporting case for Rapoport’s rule, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ghx3ffbp0

Abstract

A fundamental yet controversial topic in biogeography is how and why species range sizes vary along spatial gradients. To advance our understanding of these questions and to provide insights into biological conservation, we assessed elevational variations in the range sizes of vascular plants with different life forms and biogeographical affinities and explored the main drivers underlying these variations in the longest valley in China’s Himalayas, the Gyirong Valley. Elevational range sizes of vascular plants were documented in 96 sampling plots along an elevational gradient ranging from 1,800 to 5,400 m above sea level. We assessed the elevational variations in range size by averaging the range sizes of all recorded species within each sampling plot. We then related the range size to climate, disturbance, and the mid-domain effect, and explored the relative importance of these factors in explaining the range size variations using the Random Forest model. A total of 545 vascular plants were recorded in the sampling plots along the elevational gradient. Of these, 158, 387, 337, and 112 were woody, herbaceous, temperate, and tropical species, respectively. The range size of each group of vascular plants exhibited uniform increasing trends along the elevational gradient, which was consistent with the prediction of Rapoport’s rule. Climate was the main driver of the increasing trends of vascular plant range sizes in the Gyirong Valley. The climate variability hypothesis and mean climate condition hypothesis could both explain the elevation-range size relationships. Our results reinforce the previous notion that Rapoport’s rule applies to regions where the influence of climate is the most pronounced, and call for close attention to the impact of climate change to prevent species range contraction and even extinction due to global warming. 

Usage Notes

Sampling plot × species presence/absence matrix for vascular plants in the Gyirong valley.