Plant Diversity ›› 2024, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (01): 59-69.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.07.006

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A phylogenetic approach identifies patterns of beta diversity and floristic subregions of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

Haibin Yua, Man Yanga, Zixin Lua, Weitao Wangb, Fangyuan Yuc, Yonghua Zhangd, Xue Yinb, Hongjun Yua, Junjie Hua, David C. Deanee   

  1. a. Key Laboratory of Conservation and Application in Biodiversity of South China, School of Life Sciences, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China;
    b. School of Ecology, Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen 510275, China;
    c. School of Geography and Remote Sensing, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China;
    d. College of Life and Environmental Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou 325035, China;
    e. Centre for Future Landscapes and Department of Environment and Genetics, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia
  • Received:2023-02-13 Revised:2023-07-13 Online:2024-01-25 Published:2024-03-02
  • Contact: Haibin Yu,
  • Supported by:
    This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31901212) and Talent Start-up Foundation of Guangzhou University (grant no. RP2020079).

Abstract: Patterns of taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity and their relationships with environmental correlates can help reveal the origin and evolutionary history of regional biota. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (QTP) harbors an exceptionally diverse flora, however, a phylogenetic perspective has rarely been used to investigate its beta diversity and floristic regions. In this study, we used a phylogenetic approach to identify patterns of beta diversity and quantitatively delimit floristic regions on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. We also examined the relationships between multifaceted beta diversity, geographical distance, and climatic difference, and evaluated the relative importance of various factors (i.e., climate, topography and history) in shaping patterns of beta diversity. Sørensen dissimilarity indices indicated that patterns of species turnover among sites dominated the QTP. We also found that patterns of both taxonomic and phylogenetic beta diversity were significantly related to geographical distance and climatic difference. The environmental factors that contributed most to these patterns of beta diversity include annual precipitation, mean annual temperature, climatic gradients and climatic instability. Hierarchical dendrograms of dissimilarity and non-metric multidimensional scaling ordination based on phylogenetic beta diversity data identified ten floristic subregions in the QTP. Our results suggest that the contemporary environment and historical climate changes have filtered species composition among sites and eventually determined beta diversity patterns of plants in the QTP.

Key words: Biogeographical regionalization, Phylogenetic beta diversity, Seed plants, Sørensen dissimilarity, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau