Biodiv Sci ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (1): 99-110.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2013.12175

Special Issue: 物种形成与系统进化

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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:2013-01-20 Published:2013-02-04
  • Contact: 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