Plant Diversity ›› 2022, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (02): 135-140.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.10.001

• Articles • Previous Articles    

Global patterns of fern species diversity: An evaluation of fern data in GBIF

Hong Qiana, Jian Zhangb, Mei-Chen Jiangb   

  1. a Research and Collections Center, Illinois State Museum, 1011 East Ash Street, Springfield, IL 62703, USA;
    b Zhejiang Tiantong Forest Ecosystem National Observation and Research Station, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, 200241 Shanghai, China
  • Received:2021-07-07 Revised:2021-10-11 Published:2022-04-24
  • Contact: Hong Qian,
  • Supported by:
    We thank two reviewers for their helpful comments.

Abstract: Despite that several studies have shown that data derived from species lists generated from distribution occurrence records in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) are not appropriate for those ecological and biogeographic studies that require high sampling completeness, because species lists derived from GBIF are generally very incomplete, Suissa et al. (2021) generated fern species lists based on data with GBIF for 100 km × 100 km grid cells across the world, and used the data to determine fern diversity hotspots and species richness–climate relationships. We conduct an evaluation on the completeness of fern species lists derived from GBIF at the grid–cell scale and at a larger spatial scale, and determine whether fern data derived from GBIF are appropriate for studies on the relations of species composition and richness with climatic variables. We show that species sampling completeness of GBIF is low (<40%) for most of the grid cells examined, and such low sampling completeness can substantially bias the investigation of geographic and ecological patterns of species diversity and the identification of diversity hotspots. We conclude that fern species lists derived from GBIF are generally very incomplete across a wide range of spatial scales, and are not appropriate for studies that require data derived from species lists in high completeness. We present a map showing global patterns of fern species diversity based on complete or nearly complete regional fern species lists.

Key words: Climate, Data bias, Fern, GBIF, Species diversity, Species list