Evol Ecol Res 19: 209-213 (2018) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
One for all: can individual plant species indicate the overall number of plant species?
Polina A. Volkova1,2, Maria O. Ivanova1 and Liudmila A. Abramova1
1Moscow grammar school in the South-West No. 1543, Moscow, Russia and 2Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of Sciences, Borok, Russia
Correspondence: P.A. Volkova, Moscow grammar school in the South-West No. 1543, 26 Bakinskikh Komissarov Street, 3–5, 119571 Moscow, Russia. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Questions: Is the number of forest vascular plant species an indicator of the total number of plant species? Is there a forest species that might serve to indicate a high number of plant species?
Data: The flora of the sparsely populated Udomlya district (Tver region, central part of European Russia) mapped into 99 squares, each 5 km × 5 km.
Methods: Test for a correlation between the number of forest species and the total number of species in a grid-cell. For each species, test for a correlation between the range in the number of species within grid-cells it occupies versus the mean number of species within those same grid-cells.
Conclusion: The number of forest vascular plant species correlates positively but weakly with the total number of plant species. In general, a high number of species should be associated with species that are typical of rare habitat types (in the district). Thus indicators of a high number of species were not forest species, but species typical of open, mainly disturbed habitats (e.g. Avena sativa, Crataegus sanguinea, Lycopsis arvensis). Due to their unavoidable rarity, we cannot recommend using any of the species consistently found in speciose grid-cells as indicators of a high number of species in grid-cells within the central part of Eastern Europe. Floristic surveys remain an essential tool for studies of biodiversity and for evaluating human impact on ecosystems.
Keywords: anthropogenic disturbance, diversity of forest species, Eastern Europe, indicators, number of plant species, Russia.
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