Biodiversity Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (1): 99-110.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.12175

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Advances in methods for measuring patterns of endemic plant diversity

Jihong Huang1, 2, Jinlong Zhang2, 3, Yong Yang4, Keping Ma2, *()   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environmental and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
    2 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    3 Flora Conservation Department, Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Lam Kam Road, Taipo, NT, Hong Kong
    4 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2012-09-03 Accepted:2012-12-18 Online:2013-02-04
  • Ma Keping

Endemism, the restriction of a taxon’s distribution to a specified geographical area, is central to the study of biogeography. Understanding endemism not only concerns a number of evolutionary and biogeographical issues, but also plays an important role in maintaining biodiversity and in the selection of priority areas for conservation. In recent years, various measures and analytical methods have been used to investigate patterns of endemism for various taxa from different regions. The emergence of these new measurements has benefited from the construction of phylogenetic trees and the implementation of data from spatial statistics. Some of these measures, such as phylogenetic diversity, phylogenetic endemism, and biogeographically weighted evolutionary distinctiveness deserve much more attention. Here, we review progress in the methodology used to measure the distribution patterns of endemism. These metrics have generally developed from a single time or space perspective to space-time united patterns. Specifically, the metrics include species richness, phylogenetic diversity and evolutionary distinctiveness, plus all there in combination as well as the weight of species range size. Moreover, we propose that studies on the distribution patterns of Chinese endemic taxa should pay attention to species diversity, phylogenetic diversity, species β-diversity, and phylogenetic β-diversity. In particular, model simulation analysis should be emphasized and implemented during investigations. These studies will provide fundamental knowledge for comprehensive recognition of scale-induced differences and for the detection of mechanisms underlying the distribution patterns of endemic taxa, and therefore provide theoretical support for biodiversity conservation.

Key words: biodiversity, weighted endemism, phylogenetic diversity, evolutionary diversity hotspot, biogeography, molecular phylogeny, richness, spatial statistical analysis, endemism

Table 1

Comparison of 10 metrics on measuring patterns of endemism"

Application status
Application perspectives
物种同等重要 Equally important for every species 操作简单
Simple operation
Equally important for all species
应用最为广泛, 当前全球以及洲际生物多样性热点地区确定研究中的重要参考标准
Most widely used. Having become an important reference standard for determining biodiversity hotspots at global and intercontinental levels
普遍运用 Popular
Simple operation
Ambiguous delineation of area of endemism
确定特有现象的分布格局, 但主要针对个别类群的研究
Determining endemism distribution pattern only focusing on specific taxa
根据空间分布范围设置权重 Setting weights according to spatial range of species 操作简单, 根据物种空间分布范围设定每个物种的权重
Simple operation. Setting weights of each species according to spatial range of species
揭示特有现象的分布中心 Defining the center of endemism
依据物种分布空间设定权重, 排除物种多样性本身的影响
Setting weights based on geographical range of species, excluding impact of species diversity
Requiring comprehensive data
Defining the center of endemism
空间分析单元为自然地理区域 Using geographical area as spatial analysis unit 引入分支生物地理学研究方法, 分析某个类群不同成员之间的进化关系
Introducing a cladistic biogeography methodology to analyze evolutionary relationships between different members of groups
局限适用于自然地理区域, 且涉及类群较少的分析
Application limited to geographic area, and appropriate study with a small amount of species
Defining the center of endemism
分支生物地理学专属研究方法 In the cladistic biogeography exclusively
空间分析单元为规则研究区域 Using regular area as spatial analysis unit 将系统进化关系与空间分布结合, 并引入群落生态学的研究方法
Combining evolutionary characters and geographical distribution, and borrowing methods of community ecology
Not operational for multi- species and multi- regions
Defining the center of endemism
Emphasis on phylogenetic diversity
Reflecting evolutionary characteristics
Being difficult for all de- scribed species to attain phylogenetic tree at a resolution of species
In higher taxa
Wide applications in the future
Reflecting the evolutionary characteristics
Being difficult for all de- scribed species to attain phylogenetic tree at a resolution of species
In minority groups
Combining evolutionary diversity and spatial range of species
Considering evolutionary characters (time) and geographic distribution (space)
Being difficult for all de- scribed species to attain phylogenetic tree at a resolution of species
In minority groups (species)
Considering evolutionary characters (time) and geographic distribution (space)
Being difficult for all de- scribed species to attain phylogenetic tree at a resolution of species
In endemic and endangered groups

Fig. 1

The number and percentage of studies measuring patterns of endemic taxa employing different metrics (referring to Web of Science and consulting at November 2012). Codes of different metrics are the same as in Table 1."

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