Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (5): 561-574.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020246

• Original Papers: Original Papers •     Next Articles

Patterns and environmental drivers of Ranunculaceae species richness and phylogenetic diversity across eastern Eurasia

Yichao Li1, Yongsheng Chen1, Denis Sandanov3, Ao Luo1, Tong Lü1, Xiangyan Su1, Yunpeng Liu1, Qinggang Wang2, Viktor Chepinoga4, Sergey Dudov5, Wei Wang6, Zhiheng Wang1,*()   

  1. 1 College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Ecology and Key Laboratory for Earth Surface Process of the Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences and Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Organic Farming of Beijing City, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China
    3 Institute of General and Experimental Biology, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ulan-Ude 670047, Russia
    4 Institute of Geography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, Irkutsk 664033, Russia
    5 Moscow State University, Moscow 125009, Russia
    6 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
  • Received:2020-06-15 Accepted:2020-07-16 Online:2021-05-20 Published:2020-10-22
  • Contact: Zhiheng Wang


Aims: Ranunculaceae, one of the basal clades in eudicots of angiosperms, has a variety of medicinal plants and is of high conservation value. However, large-scale patterns in species richness and phylogenetic diversity of Ranunculaceae based on high-resolution distribution data and their environmental determinants remain poorly understood. We aims to: (1) establish a Ranunculaceae distribution database in eastern Eurasia, estimate the species diversity and phylogenetic diversity pattern of different life forms, and explore the formation mechanism of the pattern; (2) analysis the relationship between species diversity and phylogenetic diversity of Ranunculaceae, and determine the diversity hot spots to provide basis for Ranunculaceae conservation planning.
Methods: Here, we established the first species distribution database for 1,688 Ranunculaceae species across eastern Eurasia by compiling distribution data from regional and local floral records from across China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Russia at a spatial resolution of 100 km × 100 km. Using this database, we mapped large-scale patterns in species richness and phylogenetic diversity for species with different life forms and explored the mechanisms underlying these patterns. We also quantified the relationship between species richness and phylogenetic diversity and identified hotspots of Ranunculaceae phylogenetic diversity.
Results: We found a latitudinal gradient in both species richness and phylogenetic diversity and revealed that Ranunculaceae in eastern Eurasia have particularly high levels of species and phylogenetic diversity in mountainous areas. Contemporary climate, habitat heterogeneity, and climate changes since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) all influenced spatial patterns in species richness and phylogenetic diversity, but their relative contributions varied across life forms. Phylogenetic diversity at mid and high latitudes was higher than expected when controlling for species richness, which suggests that these latitudes may represent a paleo-biodiversity hotspot of Ranunculaceae.
Conclusion: Consequently, these regions should be considered a key conservation priority for this important family.

Key words: herbaceous plants, woody plants, biodiversity hotspots, conservation, species distribution, spatial database