Determinants of species diversity at 14 spatial scales in tropical microsnails
02 / 2011 - onbekend
Understanding species diversity in space is one of the greatest challenges in macroecology. This project aims to identify the determinants of species diversity at all relevant spatial scales in the second-most speciose phylum of terrestrial animals in tropical forests, viz. Mollusca. We will use samples of terrestrial micro-snails from limestone outcrops in Malaysian Borneo at spatial scales ranging through 14 orders of magnitude. Samples will be matched for body size and guild-membership as accurately as possible. Given land snails' sessile habits, these scales will encompass all possible scales at which evolution, niche differentiation, as well as neutral effects could play roles in determining diversity. Using goodness-of-fit tests with models for species abundance distributions, we will identify which processes are likely to be of importance at each spatial scale, which will result in a model that explains the entire multiphasic species-area curve for this study system. Niche effects will be confirmed by recording the association of species with particular microvegetation. The results will comprise the first-ever simultaneous analysis of species abundance distributions and their determinants for a taxon across 14 spatial scales, and will find application in the conservation of endangered karst habitats in Southeast Asia.