Geography, Environment, And spatial turnover of species in China's grasslands

Zhiyao Tang, Jingyun Fang, Xiulian Chi, Yuanhe Yang, Wenhong Ma, Anwar Mohhamot, Zhaodi Guo, Yining Liu, Kevin J. Gaston

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Environment and spatial processes are key factors in shaping species composition in a community. These two factors make competing predictions concerning the decay of species composition similarity with environmental divergence and geographic distance. Unfortunately, these can be difficult to test independently because changes in environment are commonly well correlated with geographic distance. However, an opportunity is provided by exploiting marked regional differences in the spatial structure of the environment. In this study, we test the predictions of environment filtering and dispersal in explaining species turnover using > 300 study sites spanning ̃4000 km, across three major grasslands in China in which the environment is spatially structured to different degrees. We find that species composition similarity decayed with environmental divergence in the same way in all three regions, and even across biogeographic regions between which dispersal barriers are evident; in contrast, the decay of species composition similarity with geographic distance depended largely on the spatial structure of the environment. We conclude that, at the scale of study, environmental filtering rather than spatial processes best explains patterns of species turnover in China's grasslands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1103-1109
Number of pages7
JournalEcography
Volume35
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Tang, Z., Fang, J., Chi, X., Yang, Y., Ma, W., Mohhamot, A., Guo, Z., Liu, Y., & Gaston, K. J. (2012). Geography, Environment, And spatial turnover of species in China's grasslands. Ecography, 35(12), 1103-1109. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2012.07713.x