Estimating diversity of modular organisms may be problematic due to actual difficulties in discriminating between 'individuals' and quantifying their abundances. Quantitative data, when available, are collected through methods that could preclude the application of classical diversity indices, making comparisons among studies difficult. Taxonomic distinctness indices, such as the 'Average Taxonomic Distinctness' (Delta(+)) and the 'Variation in Taxonomic Distinctness' (Lambda(+)) may represent suitable tools in investigating diversity beyond the simple species number. The potential usefulness of such indices has been explored almost exclusively on unitary organisms, neglecting modular ones. In this study, we employed Delta(+) and Lambda(+) to analyse patterns of diversity of epiphytic hydroid assemblages living on Cystoseira seaweeds at a hierarchy of spatial scales, along 800 km of rocky coast (SE Italy). ANOVA on species richness and Lambda(+) showed no significant difference in sample diversity at the investigated spatial scales. In contrast, there were significant differences at the scale of 10s of km in Delta(+). Analyses based on simulations detected significant variations at all spatial scales in Delta(+). Such findings underline the potential of Delta(+) in highlighting relevant spatial scales of variation in patterns of hydroid diversity. Our results also suggest that the interplay between natural environmental variations and the complex ecological traits of modular organisms might affect taxonomic distinctness indices. We stress the need for further investigations focusing on modular organisms before any generalizations on the use of taxonomic relatedness measures in examining marine biodiversity can be made.

The use of taxonomic distinctness indices in assessing patterns of biodiversity in modular organisms

FRASCHETTI S;BOERO F
2009

Abstract

Estimating diversity of modular organisms may be problematic due to actual difficulties in discriminating between 'individuals' and quantifying their abundances. Quantitative data, when available, are collected through methods that could preclude the application of classical diversity indices, making comparisons among studies difficult. Taxonomic distinctness indices, such as the 'Average Taxonomic Distinctness' (Delta(+)) and the 'Variation in Taxonomic Distinctness' (Lambda(+)) may represent suitable tools in investigating diversity beyond the simple species number. The potential usefulness of such indices has been explored almost exclusively on unitary organisms, neglecting modular ones. In this study, we employed Delta(+) and Lambda(+) to analyse patterns of diversity of epiphytic hydroid assemblages living on Cystoseira seaweeds at a hierarchy of spatial scales, along 800 km of rocky coast (SE Italy). ANOVA on species richness and Lambda(+) showed no significant difference in sample diversity at the investigated spatial scales. In contrast, there were significant differences at the scale of 10s of km in Delta(+). Analyses based on simulations detected significant variations at all spatial scales in Delta(+). Such findings underline the potential of Delta(+) in highlighting relevant spatial scales of variation in patterns of hydroid diversity. Our results also suggest that the interplay between natural environmental variations and the complex ecological traits of modular organisms might affect taxonomic distinctness indices. We stress the need for further investigations focusing on modular organisms before any generalizations on the use of taxonomic relatedness measures in examining marine biodiversity can be made.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/774348
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