, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1225-1235,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 01 Dec 2009

Biogeographical determinants for total and endemic species richness in a continental archipelago


We examined the relationship between plant species richness and biogeographical variables (island area, island maximum elevation, distance from nearest inhabited island, distance from nearest mainland) using a data set comprising 201 islands of the Aegean archipelago. We found that endemic species richness was strongly correlated to total species richness. Single-island endemic species richness was most strongly correlated to island maximum elevation, and then to island area, with an apparent small island effect for islands smaller than 47 km2. Total species richness was most strongly correlated to island area (with no apparent small island effect), and less strongly correlated to island maximum elevation. Distance from the mainland or other inhabited islands displayed limited predictive value in our data set. The slope of the relationship between species richness and geographical factors (island area, elevation, distance from island/mainland) was steeper for endemic species richness than for total richness. Finally, the different scales of endemicity (single-island endemics, island group endemics and Aegean regional endemics) displayed similar qualitative trends and only differed quantitatively. Thus, we conclude that different biogeographical factors act as drivers for total species richness than for endemic species richness.