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Factors affecting range size differences for plant species on rock outcrops in eastern Australia

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Rock outcrops are considered as habitat or ecological islands discordant from the adjacent matrix. The floras of 24 aggregated outcrop regions within the New England Batholith of eastern Australia were sampled and investigations made into species range differences. A measure is developed to describe differences in species range sizes across floras (range saturation: RS). Range sizes increased in areas with higher incident radiation (higher available energy) and concordantly in regions with a greater proportion of hemi-parasites, epiphytes and herbs (which were demonstrated to have large range sizes). Differences in species’ range sizes of granite outcrop occurring species on the New England Batholith of eastern Australia at different scales and extents are regressed against selected environmental variables and against local species richness and abundance. Although species’ range size has been linked in a number of systems with increased species richness and local species abundance, such correlations were not obtained in this investigation. Analyses of species’ range sizes could not be used to infer directly on processes that maintain species richness or abundance within the granitic outcrop flora of the New England Batholith.
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Keywords: Australia; New England Batholith; life-forms; range saturation; range size; rock outcrops; species abundance; species diversity; species richness

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-05-01

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