Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition

Carlos GONZALEZ-OROZCO, Malte Ebach, Shawn Laffan, Andrew Thornhill, Nunzio Knerr, Alexander Schmidt-Lebuhn, Christine Cargill, Mark Clements, Nathalie Nagalingum, Brent Mishler, Joseph Miller

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    Abstract

    The largest digitized dataset of land plant distributions in Australia assembled to date (750,741 georeferenced herbarium records; 6,043 species) was used to partition the Australian continent into phytogeographical regions. We used a set of six widely distributed vascular plant groups and three non-vascular plant groups which together occur in a variety of landscapes/habitats across Australia. Phytogeographical regions were identified using quantitative analyses of species turnover, the rate of change in species composition between sites, calculated as Simpson’s beta. We propose six major phytogeographical regions for Australia: Northern, Northern Desert, Eremaean, Eastern Queensland, Euronotian and South-Western. Our new phytogeographical regions show a spatial agreement of 65% with respect to previously defined phytogeographical regions of Australia. We also confirm that these new regions are in general agreement with the biomes of Australia and other contemporary biogeographical classifications. To assess the meaningfulness of the proposed phytogeographical regions, we evaluated how they relate to broad scale environmental gradients. Physiographic factors such as geology do not have a strong correspondence with our proposed regions. Instead, we identified climate as the main environmental driver. The use of an unprecedentedly large dataset of multiple plant groups, coupled with an explicit quantitative analysis, makes this study novel and allows an improved historical bioregionalization scheme for Australian plants. Our analyses show that: (1) there is considerable overlap between our results and older biogeographic classifications; (2) phytogeographical regions based on species turnover can be a powerful tool to further partition the landscape into meaningful units; (3) further studies using phylogenetic turnover metrics are needed to test the taxonomic areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume9
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    species diversity
    Geology
    Chemical analysis
    Ecosystem
    non-vascular plants
    Plant Dispersal
    Embryophyta
    taxonomy
    Queensland
    embryophytes
    geology
    Climate
    herbaria
    vascular plants
    Blood Vessels
    quantitative analysis
    deserts
    climate
    ecosystems
    phylogeny

    Cite this

    GONZALEZ-OROZCO, C., Ebach, M., Laffan, S., Thornhill, A., Knerr, N., Schmidt-Lebuhn, A., ... Miller, J. (2014). Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition. PLoS One, 9(3), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092558
    GONZALEZ-OROZCO, Carlos ; Ebach, Malte ; Laffan, Shawn ; Thornhill, Andrew ; Knerr, Nunzio ; Schmidt-Lebuhn, Alexander ; Cargill, Christine ; Clements, Mark ; Nagalingum, Nathalie ; Mishler, Brent ; Miller, Joseph. / Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition. In: PLoS One. 2014 ; Vol. 9, No. 3. pp. 1-10.
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    abstract = "The largest digitized dataset of land plant distributions in Australia assembled to date (750,741 georeferenced herbarium records; 6,043 species) was used to partition the Australian continent into phytogeographical regions. We used a set of six widely distributed vascular plant groups and three non-vascular plant groups which together occur in a variety of landscapes/habitats across Australia. Phytogeographical regions were identified using quantitative analyses of species turnover, the rate of change in species composition between sites, calculated as Simpson’s beta. We propose six major phytogeographical regions for Australia: Northern, Northern Desert, Eremaean, Eastern Queensland, Euronotian and South-Western. Our new phytogeographical regions show a spatial agreement of 65{\%} with respect to previously defined phytogeographical regions of Australia. We also confirm that these new regions are in general agreement with the biomes of Australia and other contemporary biogeographical classifications. To assess the meaningfulness of the proposed phytogeographical regions, we evaluated how they relate to broad scale environmental gradients. Physiographic factors such as geology do not have a strong correspondence with our proposed regions. Instead, we identified climate as the main environmental driver. The use of an unprecedentedly large dataset of multiple plant groups, coupled with an explicit quantitative analysis, makes this study novel and allows an improved historical bioregionalization scheme for Australian plants. Our analyses show that: (1) there is considerable overlap between our results and older biogeographic classifications; (2) phytogeographical regions based on species turnover can be a powerful tool to further partition the landscape into meaningful units; (3) further studies using phylogenetic turnover metrics are needed to test the taxonomic areas.",
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    GONZALEZ-OROZCO, C, Ebach, M, Laffan, S, Thornhill, A, Knerr, N, Schmidt-Lebuhn, A, Cargill, C, Clements, M, Nagalingum, N, Mishler, B & Miller, J 2014, 'Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092558

    Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition. / GONZALEZ-OROZCO, Carlos; Ebach, Malte; Laffan, Shawn; Thornhill, Andrew; Knerr, Nunzio; Schmidt-Lebuhn, Alexander; Cargill, Christine; Clements, Mark; Nagalingum, Nathalie; Mishler, Brent; Miller, Joseph.

    In: PLoS One, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2014, p. 1-10.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    T1 - Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition

    AU - GONZALEZ-OROZCO, Carlos

    AU - Ebach, Malte

    AU - Laffan, Shawn

    AU - Thornhill, Andrew

    AU - Knerr, Nunzio

    AU - Schmidt-Lebuhn, Alexander

    AU - Cargill, Christine

    AU - Clements, Mark

    AU - Nagalingum, Nathalie

    AU - Mishler, Brent

    AU - Miller, Joseph

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - The largest digitized dataset of land plant distributions in Australia assembled to date (750,741 georeferenced herbarium records; 6,043 species) was used to partition the Australian continent into phytogeographical regions. We used a set of six widely distributed vascular plant groups and three non-vascular plant groups which together occur in a variety of landscapes/habitats across Australia. Phytogeographical regions were identified using quantitative analyses of species turnover, the rate of change in species composition between sites, calculated as Simpson’s beta. We propose six major phytogeographical regions for Australia: Northern, Northern Desert, Eremaean, Eastern Queensland, Euronotian and South-Western. Our new phytogeographical regions show a spatial agreement of 65% with respect to previously defined phytogeographical regions of Australia. We also confirm that these new regions are in general agreement with the biomes of Australia and other contemporary biogeographical classifications. To assess the meaningfulness of the proposed phytogeographical regions, we evaluated how they relate to broad scale environmental gradients. Physiographic factors such as geology do not have a strong correspondence with our proposed regions. Instead, we identified climate as the main environmental driver. The use of an unprecedentedly large dataset of multiple plant groups, coupled with an explicit quantitative analysis, makes this study novel and allows an improved historical bioregionalization scheme for Australian plants. Our analyses show that: (1) there is considerable overlap between our results and older biogeographic classifications; (2) phytogeographical regions based on species turnover can be a powerful tool to further partition the landscape into meaningful units; (3) further studies using phylogenetic turnover metrics are needed to test the taxonomic areas.

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    KW - Australia

    KW - Deserts

    KW - Biogeography

    KW - Plants

    KW - Flowering plants

    KW - Ecosystems

    KW - Paleoclimatology

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    GONZALEZ-OROZCO C, Ebach M, Laffan S, Thornhill A, Knerr N, Schmidt-Lebuhn A et al. Quantifying Phytogeographical Regions of Australia Using Geospatial Turnover in Species Composition. PLoS One. 2014;9(3):1-10. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092558