Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (2): 191-201.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2017324

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The elevational patterns of mammalian richness in the Himalayas

Yiming Hu1,2,3, Jianchao Liang3,4, Kun Jin5, Zhifeng Ding3, Zhixin Zhou3, Huijian Hu3,*, Zhigang Jiang1,2,*   

  1. 1 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
    3 Guangdong Key Laboratory of Animal Conservation and Resource Utilization, Guangdong Public Laboratory of Wild Animal Conservation and Utilization, Guangdong Institute of Applied Biological Resources, Guangzhou 510260
    4 School of Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083
    5 Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
  • Received:2017-12-06 Accepted:2018-01-26 Online:2018-04-02 Published:2018-05-05
  • Contact: Hu Huijian,Jiang Zhigang
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors

Abstract:

Studies of the distribution of biodiversity are hotspots in ecology and biogeography. Mountain ecosystems, which contain high habitat heterogeneity and biodiversity, play an important role in biodiversity conservation. The Himalayas are located in the southern rim of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The complicated geological topography, vast elevational gradients (100-8,844 m), significant vertical climatic zonation, and diverse biodiversity make it an ideal study area for biodiversity distribution research. By combining field data and data from museum records and literature, 313 mammal species were found for each 100 m elevational band along the gradient from 100 to 6,000 m above sea level (a.s.l.) in the Himalayas. Most of the elevational species richness patterns were hump-shaped. Species richness of the overall mammals peaked at an elevation of 900-1,400 m. Species composition along the elevational gradient in the Himalayas can be classified into five groups (100-1,500 m, 1,500-2,000 m, 2,000-3,000 m, 3,000-4,200 m and 4,200-6,000 m a.s.l.) using UPGMA clustering of elevation-based species assemblages, which was similar to the divisions of the vertical vegetation zone. The distribution of mammals is uneven, with low diversity found in the northern slope of the Himalayas and high diversity in the southern slope; the valleys on south slope of the Himalayas that contain higher biodiversity are biological corridors connecting the northern and southern fauna. To maintain the exchange of biodiversity, we should sustainably strengthen protection to the valley ecosystems.

Key words: Himalayas, mammal species diversity, elevational patterns, distribution