Biodiversity Science ›› 1995, Vol. 03 ›› Issue (Suppl.): 12-21.doi: 10.17520/biods.1995039

Previous Article     Next Article

Spatial Patterns of Species Richness: A Hierarchical Perspective


  1. Biological Sciences Center, Desert Research Institute University of Neveda System, Reno, NV 89506-0220, USA
  • Received:1994-11-19 Online:1995-12-20

This paper examines several major geographic patterns of species richness and related hypotheses of mechanisms. These species patterns include latitudinal gradient, elevation gradient, aridity gradient, species-area relationship, and microenvironmental pattern. Hypotheses and mechanisms to be examinedinclude time hypothesis, origination-extinction dynamics hypothesis, available energy/productivity hypothesis, habitat heterogeneity hypothesis, moderate disturbance/ stress hypothesis, and niche theory/species interaction hypothesis. There has been a lack of conceptual frameworks to integrate biodiversity studies carried out at different spatial, temporal and organizational scales. We believe that such frameworks must take a hierarchical and scale perspec- tive and explicitly consider the multiplicity of processes and mechanisms. In a rather concise fashion, we propose a hierarchical structure for relating both the patterns and hypotheses of species richness with spatial scales. This hierarchical framework helps to understand patterns, hypotheses and their relationship in terms of spatial scales and related processes. For example, patterns of species richness and responsible processes are usually scale-dependent. At continental and global scales, available energy in the environment seems to be the ultimate determinant of the number of species. However, other hypotheses must be invoked in order to satisfactorily explain the largescale patterns of species richness. Spatial heterogeneity and disturbance are significant at landscape or regional scales, whereas species interactions, disturbances, and microenvironmental factors operate most importantly on local scales.

Key words: forest resource conservation, monsoon evergreen broad-leafed forest, religious culture, Dinghu Mount Biosphere Reserve

Full text



[1] Kao Tso-Ching, Cheng Ching-Yung. New Taxa of the Chinese Celastraceae (1)[J]. J Syst Evol, 1988, 26(4): 310 -314 .
[2] ZHU Hua,WANG Hong,LI Baogui. A New Variety of the Genus Lindera from Yunnan[J]. Plant Diversity, 1998, 20(01): 1 -3 .
[3] WANG Hong-Xing, CHEN Xin, TANG Jian-Jun, SHIMIZU Katsuyoshi. Influence of released transgenic pest and disease resistant crops on plant associated microorganisms in soil[J]. Biodiv Sci, 2002, 10(2): 232 -237 .
[4] . [J]. Chin Bull Bot, 1996, 13(专辑): 76 .
[5] CHANG Sheng-He, YING Jia, ZHANG Ji-Jun, LI Bin, LI Zhen-Sheng. Isolation and Characterization of a BBC1 cDNA from Common Wheat[J]. J Integr Plant Biol, 2003, 45(7): 878 -882 .
[6] Xiaoyun Pan, Hanzhao Liang, Alejandro Sosa, Yupeng Geng, Bo Li, Jiakuan Chen. Patterns of morphological variation of alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides): from native to invasive regions[J]. Biodiv Sci, 2006, 14(3): 232 -240 .
[7] WEI Jie, YU Hui, KUANG Ting-Yun, BEN Gui-Ying. Ultrastructure of Polygonum viviparum L. Grown at Different Elevations on Qinghai Plateau[J]. Chin J Plan Ecolo, 2000, 24(3): 304 -307 .
[8] Mei Bai;Hong Wu*. Recent Progress in Lipid Biosynthesis Regulated by TAG1 in Arabidopsis thaliana[J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2009, 44(06): 735 -741 .
[9] . [J]. Chin Bull Bot, 2002, 19(01): 121 -124 .
[10] ZHANG Jia-Ning-, LIU Kun-, WANG Jie-Gong. The Relationship between Seed Germinability and Species Abundance in Communities on Eastern QinghaiTibet Plateau[J]. Plant Diversity, 2013, 35(3): 317 -326 .