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Determinants of species richness, endemism and turnover in European longhorn beetles

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This study assessed the diversity patterns of a large family of beetles, Cerambycidae, in Europe and tested the following hypotheses: 1) richness gradients of this hyperdiverse taxon are driven by water and energy variables; 2) endemism is explained by the same factors, but variation between areas also reflects post-glacial re-colonization processes; and 3) faunal composition is determined by the same climatic variables and, therefore, beta diversity (species turnover) is related to richness gradients. Species richness, endemism and beta diversity were modelled using inventories of 37 European territories, built from a database containing the distributions of 609 species. Area, spatial position, and nine topographical and climatic variables were used as predictors in regression and constrained analysis of principal coordinates modelling.

Species richness was mostly explained by a temperature gradient, which produced a south-to-north decreasing richness gradient. Endemism followed the same pattern, but was also determined by longitudinal variation, peaking in the southwestern and southeastern corners of the continent. Faunal turnover was explained by an important purely spatial pattern and a spatially structured environmental gradient. Thus, contrary to other groups, cerambycid richness was mostly explained by environmental energy, but not by water availability. Endemism was concentrated in the Iberian and Greek peninsulas, but not in Italy. Thus, the latter area may have been the major source of post-glacial re-colonization for European longhorn beetles or, otherwise, a poor refuge during glaciations. Turnover patterns were independent of the richness gradient, because northern faunas are nested in southern ones. Turnover, in contrast to richness, was driven by both the independent effects of climate and geographic constraints that might reflect dispersal limitation or stochastic colonization events, suggesting that richness gradients are more environmentally deterministic phenomena than turnover patterns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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