Global Distribution of Vascular Epiphyte Diversity

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. This is version 1 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


Comments

There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.

Downloads

Download Preprint

Authors

Nora M Cavanaugh, Amy E Zanne, William K Cornwell

Abstract

Epiphytes are a large and understudied part of global diversity. Classic work by Gentry and Dodson argued that Neotropical, mid-elevation forests are centers of diversity for this growth form. We assessed this hypothesis with modern global geospatial and climatic datasets. By connecting growth form and occurrence data with climatic records at the same locations, we quantified spatial and climatic distributions of epiphyte species richness. Latitude was a powerful driver of epiphyte distributions, with peaks at the equator; here, epiphytes contributed significantly to vascular plant species richness with greatest prevalence at mid elevations and in the Neotropics. Climatically, precipitation was a stronger determinant than temperature as to where epiphytic species thrive. The study provides robust support for the hypotheses that plant diversity in Neotropical, mid-elevation forests is unusually concentrated in the epiphytic growth form, and the lower proportion of epiphytic diversity elsewhere may have both physiological or biogeographic explanations. The particular features of climate change in Neotropical mid-elevation habitats, and the implications for epiphyte diversity, are worthy of urgent research.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.32942/X2J02B

Subjects

Life Sciences

Keywords

elevation, Epiphyte richness, Global, precipitation, Latitude, temperature

Dates

Published: 2023-11-20 15:01

Last Updated: 2023-11-20 20:01

License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Language:
English

Data and Code Availability Statement:
All data are open and accessible, cited in the References.