Diversity of Andean small mammals: latitudinal and altitudinal patterns

De Mendoza CONICET


Altitudinal and latitudinal gradients have become excellent examples to test macroecological patterns in biodiversity. Although the Andean cordillera had played an important role in the evolution of South American biota, there are few studies addressing its global diversity. The aim of our study was to characterize and quantify the composition and diversity of rodent assemblages along latitudinal and altitudinal gradients in the Southern Andes (10° N to 39°S). We compiled and developed a presence/absence matrix from the scientific literature. We compared assemblage’s composition and similarity among elevational/latitudinal bands to explore species turnover. We identify a northern and a southern group along a latitudinal gradient. Latitudinal and elevational species richness showed a hump-shaped pattern between 20° and 35° and between 2000 and 3500m respectively. As latitude influences altitude, we analyze the altitudinal pattern according to the latitudinal groups. The southern group shows high richness between 500 to 2500 m, decreasing afterward. On the other hand the northern group presents a richness peak at 3000 m. The analyzed Andean assemblages reflect the influences of two major biomes: the high Andean Puna and Patagonia. Furthermore, our research of altitudinal gradients on Andean small mammals represents ecological baseline data for long term studies on climate change. (Agustina Novillo and Ricardo Ojeda; Presentado en la IV International Conference of the International Biogeographyl Society, Enero 2009, Merida, Mexico; Partially supported through PIP CONICET 5944, AGENCIA PICT 1176 and Idea Wild).

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