Plant Diversity on Islands

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2024 | Viewed by 9495

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Islands are known as natural laboratories for research in biodiversity, biogeography, ecology, and evolution. They are characterized by different types (true islands and habitat islands, oceanic, continental, land-bridge and lake islands), different and often complex paleogeography, high environmental and topographical heterogeneity, different shapes and sizes, high diversity, and endemism. They harbor unique biota that are strongly affected by intensifying pressures and severe threats, mainly because of habitat loss, climate change and biological invasions. It is noteworthy that about one-third of the global biodiversity hotspots and one-fourth of the global centers of plant diversity encompass islands or archipelagos.

Islands host a considerable portion of all plant species worldwide, among which there are many endemic, rare, and range-restricted ones. Many islands remain quite unexplored concerning their plant species composition, and research in this topic is important since a substantial part of island plant diversity remains unknown to science. The plant diversity on islands is surprising, but without complete knowledge, successful conservation and protection cannot be realized. We welcome your contributions to this Special Issue, which provides a platform to highlight new research and significant advances concerning all aspects and different levels of plant diversity on islands and factors affecting it.

Dr. Maria Panitsa
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Island plant
  • Island flora
  • Floristic diversity
  • Species richness
  • Endemism
  • Spatial patterns
  • Spatial turnover
  • Temporal turnover
  • Island specialist taxa
  • Beta diversity
  • Oceanic islands
  • Land-bridge island
  • Continental island
  • Habitat island

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 2682 KiB  
Article
Factors of Detection Deficits in Vascular Plant Inventories—An Island Case Study
by Michael Ristow, Maria Panitsa, Stefan Meyer and Erwin Bergmeier
Diversity 2022, 14(4), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14040303 - 16 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1804
Abstract
The degree of completeness of large-scale floristic inventories is often difficult to judge. We compared prior vascular plant species inventories of the Mediterranean island of Limnos (North Aegean, Greece) with 231 recent records from 2016–2021. Together with the recent records, the known number [...] Read more.
The degree of completeness of large-scale floristic inventories is often difficult to judge. We compared prior vascular plant species inventories of the Mediterranean island of Limnos (North Aegean, Greece) with 231 recent records from 2016–2021. Together with the recent records, the known number of vascular plant species on the island is 960 native taxa, 63 established neophytes, and 27 species of as yet casual status for a total of 1050 taxa. We looked at a number of traits (plant family, size, flower color, perceptibility, habitat, reproduction period, rarity, and status) to investigate whether they were overrepresented in the dataset of the newly found taxa. Overrepresentation was found in some plant families (e.g., Poaceae and Chenopodiaceae) and for traits such as hydrophytic life form, unobtrusive flower color, coastal as well as agricultural and ruderal habitats, and late (summer/autumn) reproduction period. Apart from the well-known fact of esthetic bias, we found evidence for ecological and perceptibility biases. Plant species inventories based on prior piecemeal collated data should focus on regionally specific species groups and underrepresented and rare habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diversity on Islands)
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18 pages, 14597 KiB  
Article
A Cryptic Invader of the Genus Persicaria (Polygonaceae) in La Palma and Gran Canaria (Spain, Canary Islands)
by Filip Verloove, Rainer Otto, Steven Janssens and Sang-Tae Kim
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 551; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110551 - 30 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2240
Abstract
A cryptic invader of the genus Persicaria has recently increased in the damper, northern parts of La Palma and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands (Spain) and locally behaves as an invasive species. Examination of historical herbarium specimens showed this species to be [...] Read more.
A cryptic invader of the genus Persicaria has recently increased in the damper, northern parts of La Palma and Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands (Spain) and locally behaves as an invasive species. Examination of historical herbarium specimens showed this species to be present in Gran Canaria since the 1960s and the same probably applies to La Palma. Up to now, this species had been assigned to the Old World weed P. maculosa. However, morphologically, these plants clearly correspond with P. hydropiperoides, a common and widespread weed native to the New World, and indeed morphologically similar to P. maculosa. Diagnostic features for these two species, as well as for another similar species (P. decipiens, originally described from the Canary Islands), are compared, thoroughly discussed, and copiously illustrated. The current distribution, ecology, and naturalization status of P. hydropiperoides in the Canary Islands are also assessed. The variability of P. hydropiperoides is discussed, more precisely the taxonomic position of a southern ‘race’ of it that is sometimes referred to as a distinct species, P. persicarioides, and to which the Canarian plants belong. The taxonomic value of the latter appears to be clear, although at a lower level. A new combination, at varietal rank, is proposed and validated. In addition to our morphology-based study, a molecular phylogenetic analysis has been conducted on the nuclear ITS region and the plastid DNA region trnL-F. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diversity on Islands)
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32 pages, 5416 KiB  
Article
Bryophyte Diversity along an Elevational Gradient on Pico Island (Azores, Portugal)
by Márcia C. M. Coelho, Rosalina Gabriel, Helena Hespanhol, Paulo A. V. Borges and Claudine Ah-Peng
Diversity 2021, 13(4), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13040162 - 8 Apr 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4103
Abstract
The study of elevational patterns is a valuable method for inferring the influence of the climate and other variables in the regional distributions of species. Bryophytes are ideal for revealing different environmental patterns in elevational studies, since they occur from sea level to [...] Read more.
The study of elevational patterns is a valuable method for inferring the influence of the climate and other variables in the regional distributions of species. Bryophytes are ideal for revealing different environmental patterns in elevational studies, since they occur from sea level to above the tree line. Taking advantage of the long elevational transect of Pico Island and the use of standardized survey methods, our main aims were: (1) to identify and characterize the alpha and beta diversities of bryophytes across the full elevational gradient (12 sites of native vegetation, ranging from 10 to 2200 m above sea level [a.s.l.]); (2) to detect the ecological factors driving bryophyte composition; (3) to identify bryophytes’ substrate specificity; and (4) to check the presence of rare and endemic species. The identification of 878 microplots yielded 141 species (71 liverworts and 70 mosses), almost half of those known to occur on Pico Island. The bryophyte species richness followed a parabolic unimodal pattern with a mid-elevation peak, where the richest native forests occur. A canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) of the bryophyte composition and explanatory variables revealed the effect of the elevation, precipitation, disturbance, richness of vascular plants and bark pH in explaining bryophyte compositions at regional levels. Very few species of bryophytes showed substrate specificity. Pico Island’s elevational gradient could be an asset for studying long-term changes in bryophyte species composition and alpha diversity under global change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Diversity on Islands)
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