Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 65, No 1 (2008)

Diversity, rarity and the evolution and conservation of the Canary Islands endemic flora


https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2008.v65.i1.244

J. Alfredo Reyes-Betancort
Unidad de Botánica Aplicada, Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava, Puerto de La Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

Arnoldo Santos Guerra
Unidad de Botánica Aplicada, Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava, Puerto de La Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

I. Rosana Guma
Unidad de Botánica Aplicada, Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias, Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava, Puerto de La Cruz, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

Christopher J. Humphries
Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom

Mark A. Carine
Department of Botany, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, United Kingdom

Abstract


The endemic vascular flora of the Canary Islands comprises over 680, taxa collectively accounting for more than 50% of the total native flora. To investigate geographical patterns of diversity within the endemic flora, distribution data from published sources together with other field observation and herbarium data were used to compile a data matrix comprising the distributions of ca. 90% of endemic taxa scored on a 10 × 10km UTM grid. WORLDMAP was then used to investigate patterns of endemic diversity, range size rarity (a measure of endemicity), phylogenetic diversity and threatened taxon richness. Endemic taxon richness was found to be highly heterogeneous across the archipelago, with cells containing between one and 139 taxa each (0.05-22.82% of endemic diversity). Patterns of variation in range size rarity and phylogenetic diversity were found to be largely congruent with endemic diversity, although some cells exhibited markedly higher range size rarity scores than would be predicted by their endemic diversity scores. In contrast, the pattern of endangered taxon richness across the archipelago differed markedly from endemic taxon richness. Many cells in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria exhibit higher endangered taxon richness scores than would be predicted from their endemic richness scores whereas in Tenerife, El Hierro, La Palma and La Gomera, the converse is generally true. The implications of the results both for understanding the evolution of Canary Island endemic diversity and for the conservation of the region’s unique and vulnerable flora are considered.

Keywords


Canary Islands; endemism; species richness; range size rarity; threatened species richness; phylogenetic diversity; evolution; conservation

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