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Islands in a green ocean: spatially structured endemism in Amazonian white-sand vegetation


Costa, Flavio et al. (2020), Islands in a green ocean: spatially structured endemism in Amazonian white-sand vegetation, Dryad, Dataset,


Here, we examine the influence of the spatial distribution of open White-Sand Campina (WSC) in the Amazon on the species richness and beta-diversity of their vascular plants. It is well known that beta-diversity tends to increase with geographical distance, but the influence of habitat insularity on floristic composition and endemism is still unclear. We surveyed WSC in Central and Southwestern Amazon, generating lists of species occurrences by rapid-inventory techniques to evaluate the influence of island area and connectivity on alpha and beta-diversity among five landscapes in the Amazon Basin. Effects of insularity were assessed by comparing alpha and beta-diversity within- and among-landscapes. A high proportion of species (~74%) and genera (~50%) were restricted to only one of the five landscapes and only three species and 28 genera were shared among all landscapes. At the regional scale, beta-diversity increased significantly with distance. Partitioning of beta-diversity showed that landscapes of higher connectivity have greater turnover and lower nestedness. We conclude that the flora of WSC is highly structured at regional scales, while at the local scale structure is evident only in low connectivity landscapes. Landscape metrics apparently play an important role in shaping patterns of diversity regionallyas a result of processes operating at larger geographical scales. This emphasizes that conservation policy should not be local in its geographic focus and should account for connectivity at larger scales. This study is the first to empirically and explicitly evaluate the pattern of endemism in lowland WSC in the Amazon.