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Climate driven elevational variation of vascular plants range size in the central Himalayas: a supporting case for Rapoport’s rule
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  • Jianchao Liang,
  • Zhifeng Ding,
  • Ganwen Lie,
  • Zhixin Zhou,
  • Paras Singh,
  • Zhixiang Zhang,
  • Huijian Hu
Jianchao Liang
Institute of Zoology,Guangdong Academic of Sciences
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Zhifeng Ding
Institute of Zoology,Guangdong Academic of Sciences
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Ganwen Lie
Guangdong Eco-Engineering Polytechnic
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Zhixin Zhou
Institute of Zoology,Guangdong Academic of Sciences
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Paras Singh
Institute of Zoology,Guangdong Academic of Sciences
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Zhixiang Zhang
Beijing Forestry University
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Huijian Hu
Institute of Zoology,Guangdong Academic of Sciences
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Abstract

How and why species range size varies along spatial gradients is fundamental yet controversial topics in biogeography. To advance our understanding on these questions and to provide insight into biological conservation, we assessed the elevational variations in vascular plants range size for different life form and biogeographical affinities, and explored the main drivers underlying above variations in the longest valley in China's Himalayas---the Gyirong Valley. Elevational range sizes of vascular plants were documented by 96 sampling plots along 12 elevational bands of 300-m ranging from 1800 to 5400 m above sea level. We assessed the elevational variations in range size by averaging the range size of all species within each elevational band. We then related range size to climate, disturbance, competition factors and the mid-domain effect, and explored the relative importance of aforementioned factors in explaining the range size variations using the Random Forest model. Total 545 vascular plants were documented by our sampling plots along the elevational gradient. Out of 545 plants, 158, 387, 337 and 112 were woody, herbaceous, temperate and tropical species respectively. Range size of each groups of vascular plants shown uniform increasing trends along the elevational gradient which are in accordance with the prediction of Rapoport's rule. Climate was the main driver for the increasing trends of vascular plants range size in the Gyirong Valley. Climate variability hypothesis and mean climate condition hypothesis were both supported to jointly explain such climate-range size relationship. Our results reinforce previous notion that Rapoport's rule applies to where the influence of climate is most pronounced, and call for close attention to the impact of climate change in order to prevent range contraction and even extinction under global warming.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

01 Oct 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
06 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
06 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
30 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
16 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
27 Feb 20211st Revision Received
04 Mar 2021Assigned to Editor
04 Mar 2021Submission Checks Completed
04 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
12 Mar 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
06 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
23 Apr 20212nd Revision Received
23 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
23 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept