Biodiv Sci ›› 2009, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (2): 117-126.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2009.08273

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A literature review on biotic homogenization

Guangmei Wang1,*(), Jingcheng Yang2(), Chuangdao Jiang3, Hongtao Zhao2, Zhidong Zhang1   

  1. 1 Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research for Sustainable Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai, Shandong 264003
    2 Beijing Museum of Natural History, Beijing 100050
    3 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2008-10-28 Accepted:2009-02-19 Online:2009-03-20 Published:2009-03-20
  • Contact: Guangmei Wang
  • About author:First author contact:

    ** Co-first author

Abstract:

Biotic homogenization is the process whereby the genetic, taxonomic and functional similarity of two or more biotas increases over time. As a new research agenda for conservation biogeography, biotic homogenization has become a rapidly emerging topic of interest in ecology and evolution over the past decade. However, research on this topic is rare in China. Herein, we introduce the development of the concept of biotic homogenization, and then discuss methods to quantify its three components (genetic, taxonomic, and functional homogenization), and their driving mechanisms. Species invasions and extinctions are the root cause of biotic homogenization, whilst other habitat alterations that facilitate these two processes, such as environment degradation and disturbance, urbanization, and habitat homogenization, also influence biotic homogenization. Biotic homogenization was tempo-spatial-scale dependant. The homogenization degree differed between various ecosystems and taxa, as well as in different regions. We also reviewed ecological and evolutionary consequences and effects on human dimension (economics and biodiversity conservation) due to biotic homogenization. Considering the distinctness of China’s biodiversity, we suggest that it is time to strengthen research on biotic homogenization in China. In our view, the most fundamental need is to establish open, reliable databases to foster biotic homogenization research. We hope this review will stimulate biotic homogenization research in China.

Key words: biological invasion, species extinction, driving mechanism, scale effect, ecological and evolutionary consequences, biodiversity conservation