Abstract Detail



Biogeography

Berkowitz, Dean [1], Ekwealor, Jenna T. B. [2], McClure, Sheila [3], Mishler, Brent [4].

Spatial phylogenetic diversity of native vascular plants in the Mojave National Preserve.

Biodiversity is essential for providing ecosystem services to humans in addition to supporting ecological networks. While conservation efforts have prioritized protecting biodiversity hotspots in recent years, desert biomes remain undervalued. As global climate change increases desertification, rising temperatures threaten dryland water resources and the biodiversity of these understudied ecosystems. Biodiversity is often quantified through analyzing a region’s species richness, species evenness, and species turnover. However, these standard metrics fail to take into account the evolutionary history of the organisms in an area. Spatial phylogenetics is a recently developed approach that evaluates several phylogenetic metrics including phylogenetic diversity (PD) and phylogenetic endemism (PE) to evaluate topics such as spatial ecology, community phylogenetics, and conservation prioritization. We analyzed the spatial patterns of biodiversity of the native vascular plants in the Mojave National Preserve in southern California. The field site is a 1x1 km2 plot in the Northwest of the preserve where past basalt flows and underground spring activity characterize a hydrogeologically complex region. We tested the hypothesis that greater phylogenetic diversity is located in microclimate transition zones (the areas between the spring and slopes of the basalt flows), as these complex areas may have more ecological niches than non-transition areas, by applying these phylodiversity methods. To construct a community phylogeny, we built a maximum likelihood tree using nine nuclear and plastid loci (18s, ITS, atpb, trnK, trnL, matK, matR ndhF, rbcl) for the site’s 121 identified vascular plant species. Genetic data was sourced from GenBank or sequenced from specimens collected from the field site. We then used the software BIODIVERSE to generate a phylogenetic diversity heat map for the study region. The results of this study illuminate how environmental abiotic factors predict the phylogenetic diversity of vascular plants in this region of the Mojave Desert. This study is the first application of spatial phylodiversity measures to a small scale, heavily sampled region. The results may be valuable to land managers and policy makers seeking to conserve dryland plant biodiversity. Furthermore, these findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the evolutionary relationships of Mojave vascular plants.


1 - University of California, Berkeley, Geography, 505 McCone Hall, Haviland Path, #4740, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA
2 - University of California, Berkeley, Integrative Biology, University and Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Bldg # 2465, Berkeley, CA, 94720-2465, United States
3 - Blueprint Earth, 340 S Lemon Ave , #7879, Walnut, CA, 91789, USA
4 - University Of California, Berkeley, Department Of Integrative Biology, University And Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building, # 2465, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States

Keywords:
biogeography
deserts
Phylogenetics
evolution
biodiversity.

Presentation Type: Poster This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PBG010
Abstract ID:708
Candidate for Awards:None


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