Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Correlates of ecological-niche diversity and extinction risk of amphibians in China under climate change

Youhua Chen A C and Tania Escalante B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, 610000, P.R. China.

B Grupo de Biogeografía de la Conservación, Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito Exterior s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México.

C Corresponding author. Email: haydi@126.com

Australian Systematic Botany 30(6) 414-421 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB17001
Submitted: 2 January 2017  Accepted: 15 November 2017   Published: 31 January 2018

Abstract

In the present study, we measured spatiotemporal properties of ecological niches of amphibians in China and tested the relative importance of various niche-diversity metrics for explaining the evolutionary distinctiveness-weighted extinction risk (EDGE) of amphibian species. We applied the hierarchical partitioning technique on the phylogenetically independent contrasts of the niche covariates and EDGE of amphibians, for the purpose of removing the influence of evolutionary inertia among species. As a comparison, phylogenetic least-square general regression (PLGS) was also conducted. The results showed that EDGE was high for those amphibian species of China identified as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Niche fragmentation dimension (NFD) and niche position (NP) were the top two predictors across partial correlation analyses, hierarchical variation partitioning, PLGS and multiple regression analyses. Most temporal niche properties were not significantly associated with the EDGE index of amphibians. Variation partitioning analysis showed that the spatial component of niche measures explained the largest proportion of total variation in EDGE (~31%), whereas the temporal component of niche properties explained ~8% of the variation. The significantly negative role of NFD and extinction risk of amphibians in China may be attributed to a reduced rescue effect, habitat geometry, and local extinction in species with large and continuous distributional ranges.

Additional keywords: amphibian extinction, conservation biogeography, niche conservatism, phylogenetic relatedness.


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