, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 107-112

A random process may control the number of endemic species

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Abstract

The richness of endemic species is often recognized as an indication of the distinctiveness of certain local faunas and is used for the definition of conservation hotspots as well. Faunas of different animal taxa were considered in sets of contiguous geographical units. Comparing the faunas of different units in one set, we found an exponential increase in the number of endemics when plotted against the number of non-endemics. A model of independent stochastic population dynamics under the control of environmental oscillations produces random fluctuations in the ranges of species. Ranges of endemic species are supposedly narrower than ranges of co-occurring non-endemic species. In such a case, the flow of a random process leads to an exponential relationship between numbers of co-occurring endemic and non-endemic species. This process also produces an apparent positive correlation between total species number and the percentage of endemics.