Of niches and distributions: range size increases with niche breadth both globally and regionally but regional estimates poorly relate to global estimates

Abstract : The relationship between species' niche breadth (i.e. the range of environmental conditions under which a species can persist) and range size (i.e. the extent of its spatial distribution) has mostly been tested within geographically restricted areas but rarely at the global extent. Here, we not only tested the relationship between range size (derived from species' distribution data) and niche breadth (derived from species' distribution and co-occurrence data) of 1255 plant species at the regional extent of the European Alps, but also at the global extent and across both spatial scales for a subset of 180 species. Using correlation analyses, linear models and variation partitioning, we found that species' realized niche breadth estimated at the regional level is a weak predictor of species' global niche breadth and range size. Against our expectations, distribution-derived niche breadth was a better predictor for species' range size than the co-occurrence-based estimate, which should, theoretically, account for more than the climatically determined niche dimensions. Our findings highlight that studies focusing on the niche breadth vs range size relationship must explicitly consider spatial mismatches that might have confounded and diminished previously reported relationships.
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 12:39:50 PM
Last modification on : Sunday, November 10, 2019 - 1:18:37 AM

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Stephan Kambach, Jonathan Lenoir, Guillaume Decocq, Erik Welk, Gunnar Seidler, et al.. Of niches and distributions: range size increases with niche breadth both globally and regionally but regional estimates poorly relate to global estimates. Ecography, Wiley, 2019, 42 (3), pp.467-477. ⟨10.1111/ecog.03495⟩. ⟨hal-02357065⟩

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