Species–area relationships and additive partitioning of diversity of native and nonnative herpetofauna of the West Indies

De Gao, Gad Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

To evaluate the regional biogeographical patterns of West Indian native and nonnative herpetofauna, we derived and updated data on the presence/absence of all herpetofauna in this region from the recently published reviews. We divided the records into 24 taxonomic groups and classified each species as native or nonnative at each locality. For each taxonomic group and in aggregate, we then assessed the following: (1) multiple species–area relationship (SAR) models; (2) C- and Z-values, typically interpreted to represent insularity or dispersal ability; and (3) the average diversity of islands, among-island heterogeneity, γ-diversity, and the contribution of area effect toward explaining among-island heterogeneity using additive diversity partitioning approach. We found the following: (1) SARs were best modeled using the Cumulative Weibull and Lomolino relationships; (2) the Cumulative Weibull and Lomolino regressions displayed both convex and sigmoid curves; and (3) the Cumulative Weibull regressions were more conservative than Lomolino at displaying sigmoid curves within the range of island size studied. The Z-value of all herpetofauna was overestimated by Darlington (Zoogeography: The geographic distribution of animals, John Wiley, New York, 1957), and Z-values were ranked: (1) native > nonnative; (2) reptiles > amphibians; (3) snake > lizard > frog > turtle > crocodilian; and (4) increased from lower- to higher-level taxonomic groups. Additive diversity partitioning showed that area had a weaker effect on explaining the among-island heterogeneity for nonnative species than for native species. Our findings imply that the flexibility of Cumulative Weibull and Lomolino has been underappreciated in the literature. Z-value is an average of different slopes from different scales and could be artificially overestimated due to oversampling islands of intermediate to large size. Lower extinction rate, higher colonization, and more in situ speciation could contribute to high richness of native species on large islands, enlarging area effect on explaining the between-island heterogeneity for native species, whereas economic isolation on large islands could decrease the predicted richness, lowering the area effect for nonnative species. For most of the small islands less affected by human activities, extinction and dispersal limitation are the primary processes producing low species richness pattern, which decreases the overall average diversity with a large among-island heterogeneity corresponding to the high value of this region as a biodiversity hotspot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7742-7762
Number of pages21
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume6
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • West Indies
  • Z-values
  • additive diversity partitioning
  • herpetofauna
  • species–area relationship

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