The impacts of landscape composition, marginality of distribution, soil fertility, and climatic stability on the patterns of woody plants endemism in the Cerrado

Dr João De Deus Vidal Jr.1, Dr. Anete Pereira2, Dr. Ingrid Koch2

1University Of The Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa, 2Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, Brazil


Among the diversification mechanics suggested for the Cerrado flora, the most widely discussed are the plateau/valley, stable/unstable, and core/peripheral hypotheses. The first argues that plateaus harbor more ancient lineages than valleys and should concentrate higher levels of endemism. The second theory suggests that climate stability promoted more suitable environments for the maintenance of paleoendemic species. The last scenario attributes the distribution of endemism in the Cerrado to gradients of optimal conditions available to locally adapted species, predicting higher endemism in core regions of the domain than in marginal areas. We compared the endemism patterns with the predictions of each theory to discuss their role in the distribution of endemism across the Cerrado. We generated an endemism map using records of 311 woody plant species, comprising most of its vegetation types. We applied spatial analysis and distribution models to summarize the importance of each predictor and identified areas concentrating the higher endemism rates for woody plants. We also compared our results with previous identifications of endemism nuclei and concluded that the areas here identified are consistent with previously reported nuclei of endemism. We found correlations between endemism, stability, elevation, and marginality, supporting the plateau/valley, core/peripheral, and stable/unstable hypotheses. We found no link between soil fertility and endemism. We propose that plateaus are more stable climatic environments, which along with their elevation and centrality, predict higher endemism. We verified that stable areas of multiple species niches are stronger predictive factors of the endemism when compared with elevation and centrality.


Dr. Vidal research interests are underlying mechanisms shaping the geographic distribution of the intraspecific and interspecific diversities. He has expertise in geoprocessing, plant taxonomy, population genetics, and biogeography. Currently, he is working with plant taxonomy and biogeography in South African mountains.

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