Taxonomic and phylogenetic determinants of functional composition of Bolivian bat assemblages

Luis F. Aguirre, Flavia A. Montaño-Centellas, M. Mercedes Gavilanez, Richard D. Stevens

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13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding diversity patterns and the potential mechanisms driving them is a fundamental goal in ecology. Examination of different dimensions of biodiversity can provide insights into the relative importance of different processes acting upon biotas to shape communities. Unfortunately, patterns of diversity are still poorly understood in hyper-diverse tropical countries. Here, we assess spatial variation of taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of bat assemblages in one of the least studied Neotropical countries, Bolivia, and determine whether changes in biodiversity are explained by the replacement of species or functional groups, or by differences in richness (i.e., gain or loss of species or functional groups). Further, we evaluate the contribution of phylogenetic and taxonomic changes in the resulting patterns of functional diversity of bats. Using well-sampled assemblages from published studies we examine noctilionoid bats at ten study sites across five ecoregions in Bolivia. Bat assemblages differed from each other in all dimensions of biodiversity considered; however, diversity patterns for each dimension were likely structured by different mechanisms. Within ecoregions, differences were largely explained by species richness, suggesting that the gain or loss of species or functional groups (as opposed to replacement) was driving dissimilarity patterns. Overall, our results suggest that whereas evolutionary processes (i.e., historical connection and dispersal routes across Bolivia) create a template of diversity patterns across the country, ecological mechanisms modify these templates, decoupling the observed patterns of functional, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity in Bolivian bats. Our results suggests that elevation represents an important source of variability among diversity patterns for each dimension of diversity considered. Further, we found that neither phylogenetic nor taxonomic diversity can fully account for patterns of functional diversity, highlighting the need for examining different dimensions of biodiversity of bats in hyperdiverse ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0158170
JournalPloS one
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

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