University of Oulu

Vieira, D.S., García-Girón, J., Heino, J., Toivanen, M., Helm, A. and Alahuhta, J. (2021), Little evidence of range size conservatism in freshwater plants across two continents. J. Biogeogr., 48: 1200-1212.

Little evidence of range size conservatism in freshwater plants across two continents

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Author: Vieira, Denner S.1,2; García-Girón, Jorge3; Heino, Jani4;
Organizations: 1Departamento de Física, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá, Brazil
2Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
3Ecology Unit, University of León, León, Spain
4Finnish Environment Institute, Oulu, Finland
5Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-07-08


Aim: Range size conservatism suggests that closely-related species maintain geographic ranges of similar extent. However, consensus regarding this suggestion has not been reached. To shed more light on this phenomenon, we studied freshwater plant range size conservatism, range overlap and environmental niche conservatism using congeneric species comparison in two continents. In addition, we investigated whether a phylogenetic signal is found in the range sizes of aquatic plants.

Location: Europe and North America.

Taxon: Freshwater plants.

Methods: Across spatial resolutions (50 km², 100 km² and 200 km²), we applied Spearman correlations among 347 and 730 pairs of congeneric species in Europe and North America, respectively, and 63 pairs shared between them. In addition, Spearman correlations were used to evaluate how the degree of spatial overlap influences range sizes and which environmental variables explain variation in range sizes. Brownian evolutionary model was used to assess the phylogenetic signal in species range sizes.

Results: We found no evidence of range size conservatism across spatial resolutions for any species and species shared between the continents. In addition, range sizes of more closely related species did not overlap geographically more than those of distantly related ones and no support for environmental niche conservatism was evidenced.

Main conclusions: We found that aquatic plants show no range size conservatism in the Northern Hemisphere. This means that it is challenging to define different range sizes of freshwater plants through species traits. Furthermore, we are unable to predict unknown distributions of extant aquatic plant species based on known distributional attributes of closely related species. However, our findings suggest that the interpretations of previous investigations on the range sizes of aquatic plants remain valid due to lack of range size conservatism. These practical implications encourage studying range size conservatism across realms and regions, especially for understudied organismal groups.

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Series: Journal of biogeography
ISSN: 0305-0270
ISSN-E: 1365-2699
ISSN-L: 0305-0270
Volume: 48
Issue: 5
Pages: 1200 - 1212
DOI: 10.1111/jbi.14071
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1172 Environmental sciences
519 Social and economic geography
Funding: D.S.V. acknowledges the support of the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES). MT acknowledges Maj & Tor Nessling Foundation. J.G.G. appreciates financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Industry (project METAPONDS—grant (GL2017-84176R), the Junta of Castilla y León -grant LE004G18 and from the Fundación Biodiversidad (Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge). No collecting permit was needed in the study.
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Biogeography published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.