The map of biodiversity: From local to global scales


Species richness is not homogeneous in space and it normally presents differences when comparing among different sites. These differences often respond to gradients in one or several factors which create biodiversity patterns in space and are scale-dependent. At a local scale, diversity patterns depend on the habitat size (species-area relationship), the productivity, the environmental harshness, the frequency and intensity of disturbance, or the regional species pool. Regional diversity may be influenced by environmental heterogeneity (increasing dissimilarity), although it could act also at smaller or larger spatial scales, and the connectivity among habitats. Finally, at a global scale, diversity patterns are found with the latitude, the altitude or the depth, although these factors are surrogates for one or several environmental variables (productivity, area, isolation, or harshness).


species richness; species-area relationship; productivity; latitudinal biodiversity gradient

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