Nature Publishing Group, publisher of Nature, and other science journals and reference works
Nature
my account e-alerts subscribe register
   
Monday 24 July 2017
Journal Home
Current Issue
AOP
Archive
Download PDF
References
Export citation
Export references
Send to a friend
More articles like this

Letters to Nature
Nature 329, 326 - 327 (24 September 1987); doi:10.1038/329326a0

Large-scale biogeographical patterns of species richness of trees

David J. Currie & Viviane Paquin

Biology Department, University of Ottawa, 30 Somerset East, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada

Biologists have long recognized the striking geographical variability of species richness1. A primary goal of contemporary ecology is to identify the factors responsible for this variability2. We have examined the spatial distributions of trees in North America to determine which characteristics of the environment are most closely related to the species richness of different regions. Realized annual evapotranspiration, which is correlated with primary production and is therefore a measure of available energy, statistically explains 76% of the variation in species richness. Topography and proximity to the sea are significantly related to the residual variation, whereas seasonal climatic variability and glacial history are not. Tree richness in Great Britain and Ireland can be accurately predicted from these North American patterns. Our data are best explained by the hypothesis that contemporary available energy limits species richness3,4.

------------------

References

1. Wallace, A. R. Tropical Nature and Other Essays (Macmillan, New York, 1878).
2. May, R. M. Ecology 67, 1115−1126 (1986).
3. Brown, J. H. Am. Zool. 21, 877−888 (1981). | ISI |
4. Turner, J. R. G., Gatehouse, C. M. & Corey, C. A. Oikos 48, 195−205 (1987). | ISI |
5. Simpson, G. G. Syst. Zool. 13, 361−389 (1964).
6. Cook, R. E. Syst. Zool. 18, 63−84 (1969).
7. Schall, J. J. & Pianka, E. R. Science 201, 679−686 (1978). | ISI |
8. Pianka, E. R. Am. Nat. 100, 33−46 (1966). | Article | ISI |
9. Begon, M., Harper, J. L. & Townsend, C. R. Ecology (Sinauer, Sunderland, Massachusetts, 1986).
10. Brown, J. H. & Davidson, D. W. Science 196, 880−882 (1977).
11. Birks, H. J. B. Am. Nat. 115, 600−605 (1980). | Article |
12. Abramsky, Z. & Rosenzweig, M. L. Nature 309, 150−151 (1984). | Article | PubMed | ISI | ChemPort |
13. Little, E. J. Jr Atlas of United States Trees Vols 1−5 (US Govt Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1971).
14. Elias, T. S. The Complete Trees of North America (Reinhold, New York, 1980).
15. Hosie, R. C. Native Trees of Canada 8th edn (Supplies and Services Canada, Ottawa, 1980).
16. International Map of the World 1:1,000,000 1969. Canadian sheets (Dept of Energy Mines and Resources, Ottawa, 1973).
17. World (North America) Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers 1:1,000,000, 1941−1953 US sheets (US Geol. Surv., Washington, DC, 1967).
18. USSR Committee for the International Hydrological Decade Atlas of World Water Balance (UNESCO Press, Paris, 1977).
19. The National Atlas of Canada (Macmillan, Ottawa, 1981).
20. Climatic Atlas of North and Central America (World Meteorol. Org., Geneva, 1979).
21. Climatic Atlas of the United States (US Dept Commerce National Climatic Center, Ashville, North Carolina, 1968).
22. Prest, V. K. Retreat of Wisconsin and Recent Ice in North America, Map 1257A (Geol. Surv. Canada, Ottawa, 1969).
23. SAS User's Guide: Statistics version 5 (SAS Institute, Cary, North Carolina, 1985).
24. Rosenzweig, M. L. Am. Nat. 102, 67−74 (1968). | Article | ISI |
25. Leith, H. in Primary Productivity of the Biosphere (eds Lieth, H. & Whittaker, R. H.) 237−263 (Springer, New York, 1975).
26. Brown, J. H. & Gibson, A. C. Biogeography (Mosby, St Louis, 1983).
27. Perring, F. H. & Walters, S. M. (eds) Atlas of the British Flora (Nelson, London, 1962).
28. Clapham, A. R., Tutin, T. G. & Warburg, E. F. Flora of the British Isles (Cambridge University Press, 1962).
29. Silvertown, J. J. Biogeogr. 12, 519−525 (1981).



© 1987 Nature Publishing Group
Privacy Policy