Plant Ecology

, Volume 198, Issue 2, pp 149–167

Iberian–Balearic fern regions and their explanatory variables


DOI: 10.1007/s11258-007-9392-8

Cite this article as:
Moreno Saiz, J.C. & Lobo, J.M. Plant Ecol (2008) 198: 149. doi:10.1007/s11258-007-9392-8


This article delineates the compositional regions present in the Iberian–Balearic fern flora and compares these regions to previously proposed biogeographic units. It also assesses the extent to which environmental variables could explain the regions and the fern species richness gradients found within them. A combination of 40 previously published and new maps were used to compile the distribution of 123 pteridophytes on a 50 × 50 km UTM grid. Cluster analysis of the resulting 257 squares was used to classify 10 regions based on fern species assemblages. Discriminant function analysis identified the environmental variables that best explained these fern composition regions. Using generalized linear models; the number of species in each square was regressed against topography, climate, geology, environmental diversity, land use and spatial variables within each region. Two main latitudinal pteridophyte zones can be recognized in the Iberian Peninsula. These two zones are longitudinally subdivided into two sub zones. The 10 regions established significantly differ both in species richness and influential environmental variables. Climatic variables discriminate the most among regions, followed by topography, heterogeneity and geology. Pteridophyte richness varies, with richer areas being located along the coast and the main mountain ranges and the poorest areas being in the central plateaus and some north eastern and south western river basins. Species richness variation in Iberia is positively correlated with altitude range, precipitation, maximum altitude and area with siliceous soils. It is negatively correlated with the total annual days of sun, however. The fact that species richness is explained by different variables within each of the 10 regions indicates that the specific factors determining the spatial distribution of species richness vary from region to region. Some coastal regions are poorly explained by the model, and display a negative correlation with the selected causal factors. This finding suggests that persistent historic effects might play a local role in determining species assemblages in these regions.


BiogeographyBiotic regionsCluster analysisGeneralized linear modelsPteridophytesVariance partitioning

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología (Botánica)Universidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Biodiversidad y Biología EvolutivaMuseo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, C.S.I.C.MadridSpain