A new phytogeographic map for the Southwest Australian Floristic Region after an exceptional decade of collection and discovery

Paul Gioia, Stephen D. Hopper

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13 Citations (Scopus)
306 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

After an 11-year period of exceptional specimen acquisition, we evaluated the robustness of the Western Australian Herbarium Specimen Database in elucidating patterns of diversity and phytogeographic maps of the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR). Using rarefaction strategies to compensate for sample bias and a novel approach to multivariate classification and site ordination, we generated maps of floristic provinces and districts in the SWAFR. A 33% increase in specimen numbers and 10% additional taxa were recorded in the study area (SWAFR and 75 km inland buffer) over the 11 years, although historical biases in collecting patterns tended to persist. Although floristic district concepts were robust, regional and provincial concepts were more equivocal. We therefore opted for broad delineations rather than geographically precise ones. We propose a novel phytogeographic map, adding a new floristic province (Kalbarri), five new districts and other boundary adjustments for and in the SWAFR. The updated SWAFR has 8379 native vascular plant taxa (82% species and 18% subspecies), of which 47% are endemic and 49% have been described since 1970. Biodiversity indices generated from collections data should be used cautiously. In contrast, the new phytogeographic regionalization of the SWAFR is robust at the district level. Despite shortcomings, herbarium collections provide the best information available for broadscale analyses of plant diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume184
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

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herbaria
floristics
vascular plants
buffers
biodiversity
taxonomy
herbarium
sampling
regionalization
vascular plant
ordination
subspecies

Cite this

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abstract = "After an 11-year period of exceptional specimen acquisition, we evaluated the robustness of the Western Australian Herbarium Specimen Database in elucidating patterns of diversity and phytogeographic maps of the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR). Using rarefaction strategies to compensate for sample bias and a novel approach to multivariate classification and site ordination, we generated maps of floristic provinces and districts in the SWAFR. A 33{\%} increase in specimen numbers and 10{\%} additional taxa were recorded in the study area (SWAFR and 75 km inland buffer) over the 11 years, although historical biases in collecting patterns tended to persist. Although floristic district concepts were robust, regional and provincial concepts were more equivocal. We therefore opted for broad delineations rather than geographically precise ones. We propose a novel phytogeographic map, adding a new floristic province (Kalbarri), five new districts and other boundary adjustments for and in the SWAFR. The updated SWAFR has 8379 native vascular plant taxa (82{\%} species and 18{\%} subspecies), of which 47{\%} are endemic and 49{\%} have been described since 1970. Biodiversity indices generated from collections data should be used cautiously. In contrast, the new phytogeographic regionalization of the SWAFR is robust at the district level. Despite shortcomings, herbarium collections provide the best information available for broadscale analyses of plant diversity.",
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