Latitudinal and altitudinal patterns of plant community diversity on mountain summits across the tropical Andes

  • Proyecto: Proyecto EcoAndes
  • Autor: Cuesta, Francisco
  • Autor secundario:   Priscilla, Muriel -Luis Daniel, Llambí – Stephan, Halloy – Nikolay, Aguirre
    -Stephan, Beck – Julieta, Carilla – Rosa Isela, Meneses – Soledad, Cuello – Alfredo, Grau – Luis, Gámez -Javier, Irazábal – Jorge, Jácome – Ricardo, Jaramillo – Lirey, Ramírez – Natalia, Samaniego -David, Suárez – Natali, Thompson – Alfredo, Tupayachi – Paul, Viñas – Karina, Yager -María, Becerra – Harald, Pauli – William, Gosling.
  • Instituciones relacionadas: CONDESAN, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Universidad de los Andes,  Universidad de Chilecito, University of Amsterdam, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
  • Año: 2016
  • Países: Ecuador, Perú, Venezuela, Argentina
  • Área temática: Biodiversidad
  • Líneas de trabajo: Investigación

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The high tropical Andes host one of the richest alpine floras of the world, with exceptionally high levels of endemism and turnover rates. Yet, little is known about the patterns and processes that structure altitudinal and latitudinal variation in plant community diversity. Herein we present the first continental-scale comparative study of plant community diversity on summits of the tropical Andes. Data were obtained from 792 permanent vegetation plots (1m2) within 50 summits, distributed along a 4200 km transect; summit elevations ranged between 3220 and 5498 m.a.s.l. We analyzed the plant community data to assess: (1) differences in species abundance patterns in summits across the region, (2) the role of geographic distance in explaining floristic similarity, and (3) the importance of altitudinal and latitudinal environmental gradients in explaining plant community composition and richness.