Original paper

Sand habitats across biogeographical regions at species, community and functional level

Mahdavi, Parastoo; Isermann, Maike; Bergmeier, Erwin

Phytocoenologia Band 47 Heft 2 (2017), p. 139 - 165

60 references

published: Jul 20, 2017
published online: Jul 20, 2017
manuscript accepted: Jan 24, 2017
manuscript revision received: Sep 12, 2016
manuscript revision requested: Nov 8, 2016
manuscript received: Mar 24, 2016

DOI: 10.1127/phyto/2017/0127

BibTeX file

ArtNo. ESP024004702008, Price: 29.00 €

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Abstract Questions: To what extent does habitat similarity across different climatic regions support vegetation similarity at taxonomic, syntaxonomic and functional levels? Do different sand habitats share similarity patterns across regions? To what extent are sand habitats azonal with respect to taxonomic, syntaxonomic and functional similarity? What are the syntaxonomic and functional analogues? Study area: Coastal areas of N Germany, NE Greece, N Iran, and the Namak Lake shore in Central Iran. Methods: In four biogeographic regions (Atlantic, Mediterranean, Hyrcanian, Irano-Turanian) we collected 450 relevés representing four habitat types: drift lines, mobile dunes, stabilized dunes, and salt marshes. Plant communities were classified using TWINSPAN and assigned to syntaxa. High-rank syntaxa of each habitat were compared across four regions. Beta diversity was used to compare the species similarity between regions and habitats. We further compared trait-based functional groups across regions and habitats at the syntaxonomic level of class. Results: The floristic composition of sand habitats depended highly on the biogeographic region. At plant species and genus level, very low similarity was found between sand habitats of the same kind across regions as well as across habitats within a region. However, sand habitats of the same kind in different regions showed considerable functional similarity. Vegetation under particularly high stress, such as of salt marshes and drift lines, showed more syntaxonomic and functional similarities between regions than that of mobile and stabilized dunes, which was more determined by the regional species pool. Conclusions: The more stress-prone a habitat, the more is its vegetation habitat-related and the less dependent on the biogeographic region. All studied habitats are azonal but nuances are recognizable, and the concept of azonality is more generally applicable using functional traits as parameter. We further suggest using functional group proportions as a complementary tool to diagnostic species when comparing biogeographically distant, vicariant plant communities.
 Nomenclature: Flora Iranica (Rechinger 1963−2012), Dimopoulos et al. (2013) and Florenliste von Deutschland (Buttler et al. 2015) for Iran, Greece and Germany, respectively; syntaxonomic nomenclature follows mainly Mucina et al. (2016) for Greece and Germany, and Asri (2003) for Iran. 
 Abbreviation: FG = Functional group
 Submitted: 24 March 2016; first decision: 12 September 2016; accepted: 24 January 2017


azonalitybeta diversitycoastal vegetationIrano-Turanian regionfunctional traitMediterranean regionsaline habitatsalt marshsand dunesyntaxa.