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Community Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 223–234 | Cite as

Distributional patterns of endemic, native and alien species along a roadside elevation gradient in Tenerife, Canary Islands

  • G. BacaroEmail author
  • S. Maccherini
  • A. Chiarucci
  • A. Jentsch
  • D. Rocchini
  • D. Torri
  • M. Gioria
  • E. Tordoni
  • S. Martellos
  • A. Altobelli
  • R. Otto
  • C. G. Escudero
  • S. Fernández-Lugo
  • J. M. Fernández-Palacios
  • J. R. Arévalo
Article

Abstract

Invasion by alien plant species may be rapid and aggressive, causing erosion of local biodiversity. This is particularly true for islands, where natural and anthropogenic corridors promote the rapid spread of invasive plants. Although evidence shows that corridors may facilitate plant invasions, the question of how their importance in the spread of alien species varies along environmental gradients deserves more attention. Here, we addressed this issue by examining diversity patterns (species richness of endemic, native and alien species) along and across roads, along an elevation gradient from sea-level up to 2050 m a.s.l. in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain), at multiple spatial scales. Species richness was assessed using a multi-scale sampling design consisting of 59 T-transects of 150 m × 2 m, along three major roads each placed over the whole elevation gradient. Each transect was composed of three sections of five plots each: Section 1 was located on the road edges, Section 2 at intermediate distance, and Section 3 far from the road edge, the latter representing the “native community” less affected by road-specific disturbance. The effect of elevation and distance from roadsides was evaluated for the three groups of species (endemic, native and alien species), using parametric and non-parametric regression analyses as well as additive diversity partitioning. Differences among roads explained the majority of the variation in alien species richness and composition. Patterns in alien species richness were also affected by elevation, with a decline in richness with increasing elevation and no alien species recorded at high elevations. Elevation was the most important factor determining patterns in endemic and native species. These findings confirm that climate filtering reflected in varying patterns along elevational gradients is an important determinant of the richness of alien species (which are not adapted to high elevations), while anthropogenic pressures may explain the richness of alien species at low elevation.

Keywords

Disturbance Diversity partitioning Invasive species Island biogeography MIREN Plant species richness 

Abbreviations

MIREN

Mountain Invasion Research Network

PERMANOVA

Permutational Analysis of Variance

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Supplementary material

42974_2015_1602223_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (99 kb)
Appendix I. List of plant species recorded along the altitudinal gradient. Only those with appear in 5% or more plots are shown. Biogeographical status, origin, life forms and minimum and maximum altitude at which the species were found are shown. Transformer species are marked with an asterisk. Status: e = endemic; i, introduced; n = native; p = probably introduced. Origin: end = Canary Islands endemic; mac = Macaronesian region endemic; at = Atlantic; af = African; med = Mediterranean; cosm = cosmopolitan; am = American; euras = Eurasiatic; med atl = Mediterranean-Atlantic; as = Asiatic; med euras = Mediterranean-Eurasiatic. Life form: MPh = Meso- or Megaphanerophyte; NPh = Nanophanerophyte; Th = Therophyte; H = Hemicryptophyte; G = Geophyte; Ch = Chamaephyte.

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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2015

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Bacaro
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Maccherini
    • 2
  • A. Chiarucci
    • 3
  • A. Jentsch
    • 4
  • D. Rocchini
    • 5
  • D. Torri
    • 6
  • M. Gioria
    • 7
  • E. Tordoni
    • 1
  • S. Martellos
    • 1
  • A. Altobelli
    • 1
  • R. Otto
    • 8
  • C. G. Escudero
    • 8
  • S. Fernández-Lugo
    • 8
  • J. M. Fernández-Palacios
    • 8
  • J. R. Arévalo
    • 8
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  2. 2.BIOCONNET, Biodiversity and Conservation Network, Department of Environmental Science “G. Sarfatti”University of SienaSienaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental SciencesAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Disturbance Ecology, Bayreuth Centre for Ecology and Environmental Research BayCEERUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.Department of Biodiversity and Molecular EcologyResearch and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund MachS. Michele all’Adige (TN)Italy
  6. 6.CNR-IRPI, Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione IdrogeologicaPerugiaItaly
  7. 7.Institute of BotanyThe Czech Academy of SciencesPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  8. 8.Departamento EcologíaUniversidad de La LagunaLa LagunaSpain

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