Testing Species-Area Relationships with Caribbean Species

Authors: Mark Welford*, Georgia Southern University
Topics: Biogeography, Latin America, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Caribbean, Island Biogeography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Cleveland 1, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Caribbean Islands provide an outstanding natural laboratory for studying the processes of colonization, speciation, and extinction among animal species. These islands are of different size, age, topographic complexity, and distance from either North America of South America, and exhibit different climates and associated ecosystems, and hence offer evolutionary opportunities. We test species-area relationships among Caribbean Islands using the number of endemic birds and bird species richness of these Caribbean Islands. Contrary to traditional island biogeographic explanations of species diversity, the maximum and minimum age of an island and distance to South America show the most consistent relationships with the dependent variables of richness and endemism. This suggests and supports the notion that the age of an island and distance from a source pool are key factors other than area that determine species richness and endemism in the Caribbean Islands.

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