, Volume 11, Issue 10, pp 1809-1824

Phylogenetic diversity and ecological features in the Egyptian flora

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Abstract

Until fairly recently, regional-scale ecological and evolutionarypatterns have tended to be ignored as conservation efforts have been concernedwith species and their habitats. Here we compare frequencies in the Egyptianflora of particular rank sizes (order, family and genus) with patterns ofspecies abundance (classified as very rare, rare, common, or very common) and anarray of life-history attributes. The angiosperm flora of Egypt is representedby 2446 taxa (2088 species), including taxa in 10 subclasses, 51 orders, 120families, and 742 genera. A high degree of monotypism was observed: four ordersare monotypic (each existing as single species), and have very rare overallabundances; 30 families are monotypic (17 of which are very rare or rare); and 354genera are monotypic (over 70% of which are very rare or rare). Fourteenfamilies (in particular the Resedaceae and Zygophyllaceae) have at leastone-fifth of their global species represented in the Egyptian flora. Introducedspecies in general, and tree, aquatic herb and liana life forms all are especially well represented among monotypic genera. Native taxa are highlyrepresented among rare and very rare abundance classes, while introduced taxadid not differ significantly in their abundance patterns, compared to overallflora values. Few large genera (>20 spp.) occur in the flora, with mostspecies concentrated in genera containing 8–19 species per genus.Similarly, few families were highly speciose. Annual and herbaceous species weresignificantly over-represented, mainly among large, speciose genera andfamilies. However, perennials, trees, shrubs, aquatic herbs, lianas and parasiticspecies were found mainly in families and genera having very few taxa.Life-history attributes may have important implications to speciation rates.Taxonomically based results, involving abundances and life-history attributes,are discussed in the context of biodiversity and conservation.