Endemism, species selection and the origin and distribution of the vascular plant flora of New Zealand

Endemism, species selection and the origin and distribution of the vascular plant flora of New... Aim To evaluate competing views on the origin and distribution of the New Zealand flora by testing the hypothesis that the geographical distribution of species is unrelated to ecological traits such as habitat requirements and dispersal capabilities. Location The New Zealand archipelago. Methods An analysis of the factors correlated with distribution and endemism for alpine plants within New Zealand, and for the New Zealand biota as a whole. Results Woody plants are highly endemic; nonendemic plants tend to be herbaceous and are concentrated among the highly dispersible ferns and fern allies, orchids and wetland plants. These groups make up 32% of the total flora but contribute 78% of nonendemics. Alpine plants with wide spatial distribution tend to have greater altitudinal ranges, a broader habitat preference and better dispersal ability. Main conclusions Most vascular plants reached New Zealand by long‐distance transoceanic dispersal, probably during the Late Miocene to early Pleistocene period. During the Miocene and Pliocene, similar climates and landscapes to those of Australia and northern island groups, and highly invasible terrain, permitted dispersal of woody plants. Cooling climates and formation of a more mountainous, more compact landscape after that time reduced dispersal of woody plants and favoured herbaceous, wetland and highly dispersible plant groups. The prominence of dispersal has led to intense selective immigration, and is responsible for many characteristic features of the flora. Species selection by glacial–interglacial cycles has restricted acquisition or retention of cool or arid climate adaptations, particularly in the lowland flora. Endemic and range disjunction patterns in the New Zealand mainland are not, in general, directly caused by Pliocene inundations or the faulting and associated horizontal displacement of terrain that has continued since the Miocene. They have arisen mainly through Pleistocene extinctions, speciation and dispersal, and some patterns are strongly linked to repeated glaciation. Endemic centres are associated with differentiated terrain and climates providing isolation, distinctive environments, and habitat continuity conducive to speciation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Biogeography Wiley

Endemism, species selection and the origin and distribution of the vascular plant flora of New Zealand

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0305-0270
eISSN
1365-2699
DOI
10.1046/j.1365-2699.2001.00525.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Aim To evaluate competing views on the origin and distribution of the New Zealand flora by testing the hypothesis that the geographical distribution of species is unrelated to ecological traits such as habitat requirements and dispersal capabilities. Location The New Zealand archipelago. Methods An analysis of the factors correlated with distribution and endemism for alpine plants within New Zealand, and for the New Zealand biota as a whole. Results Woody plants are highly endemic; nonendemic plants tend to be herbaceous and are concentrated among the highly dispersible ferns and fern allies, orchids and wetland plants. These groups make up 32% of the total flora but contribute 78% of nonendemics. Alpine plants with wide spatial distribution tend to have greater altitudinal ranges, a broader habitat preference and better dispersal ability. Main conclusions Most vascular plants reached New Zealand by long‐distance transoceanic dispersal, probably during the Late Miocene to early Pleistocene period. During the Miocene and Pliocene, similar climates and landscapes to those of Australia and northern island groups, and highly invasible terrain, permitted dispersal of woody plants. Cooling climates and formation of a more mountainous, more compact landscape after that time reduced dispersal of woody plants and favoured herbaceous, wetland and highly dispersible plant groups. The prominence of dispersal has led to intense selective immigration, and is responsible for many characteristic features of the flora. Species selection by glacial–interglacial cycles has restricted acquisition or retention of cool or arid climate adaptations, particularly in the lowland flora. Endemic and range disjunction patterns in the New Zealand mainland are not, in general, directly caused by Pliocene inundations or the faulting and associated horizontal displacement of terrain that has continued since the Miocene. They have arisen mainly through Pleistocene extinctions, speciation and dispersal, and some patterns are strongly linked to repeated glaciation. Endemic centres are associated with differentiated terrain and climates providing isolation, distinctive environments, and habitat continuity conducive to speciation.

Journal

Journal of BiogeographyWiley

Published: Feb 1, 2001

References

  • Biogeographic disjunction along the Alpine fault, New Zealand
    Heads, Heads
  • Some genetic consequences of ice ages, and their role in divergence and speciation
    Hewitt, Hewitt
  • Investigating causality of nestedness of insular communities: selective immigrations or extinctions
    Lomolino, Lomolino
  • Fleshy‐fruitedness in the New Zealand flora
    Lord, Lord
  • Modes of oblique compression – Late Cenozoic tectonics of the South Island of New Zealand
    Walcott, Walcott

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