Disjunct populations of European vascular plant species keep the same climatic niches
2015 (English)In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, ISSN 1466-822X, E-ISSN 1466-8238, Vol. 24, no 12, 1401-1412 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Aim Previous research on how climatic niches vary across species ranges has focused on a limited number of species, mostly invasive, and has not, to date, been very conclusive. Here we assess the degree of niche conservatism between distant populations of native alpine plant species that have been separated for thousands of years. Location European Alps and Fennoscandia. Methods Of the studied pool of 888 terrestrial vascular plant species occurring in both the Alps and Fennoscandia, we used two complementary approaches to test and quantify climatic-niche shifts for 31 species having strictly disjunct populations and 358 species having either a contiguous or a patchy distribution with distant populations. First, we used species distribution modelling to test for a region effect on each species' climatic niche. Second, we quantified niche overlap and shifts in niche width (i.e. ecological amplitude) and position (i.e. ecological optimum) within a bi-dimensional climatic space. Results Only one species (3%) of the 31 species with strictly disjunct populations and 58 species (16%) of the 358 species with distant populations showed a region effect on their climatic niche. Niche overlap was higher for species with strictly disjunct populations than for species with distant populations and highest for arctic-alpine species. Climatic niches were, on average, wider and located towards warmer and wetter conditions in the Alps. Main conclusion Climatic niches seem to be generally conserved between populations that are separated between the Alps and Fennoscandia and have probably been so for 10,000-15,000 years. Therefore, the basic assumption of species distribution models that a species' climatic niche is constant in space and time-at least on time scales 104 years or less-seems to be largely valid for arctic-alpine plants.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 24, no 12, 1401-1412 p.
Alpine plants, arctic plants, climatic niche, disjunct distribution, distant populations, niche conservatism, niche optimum, niche overlap, niche width, species distribution modelling
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-117544DOI: 10.1111/geb.12375ISI: 000367668000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-117544DiVA: diva2:908045