Patterns of distribution of nine Quercus species along an environmental gradient in a fragmented landscape in central Mexico

  • Rafael Aguilar-Romero Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
  • Felipe García-Oliva Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Morelia, Michoacán
  • Fernando Pineda-García Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Morelia, Michoacán
  • Ignacio Torres Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Morelia, Michoacán
  • Ernesto Peña-Vega Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Morelia, Michoacán
  • Adrian Ghilardi Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia Michoacán
  • Ken Oyama Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Morelia, Michoacán
Keywords: coexistence, ecological niche, habitat fragmentation, patterns of distribution, oaks

Abstract

Elucidating the factors determining plant distribution is still on discussion. It has been stated that the distribution is mostly determined by environmental factors, but the evidence on whether this or other processes are the determinants remains inconclusive. In the present study, we hypothesized that oak species differ in their distribution, which might be mostly influence by the environment. Particularly, we explored: i) the patterns of distribution of Quercus species  at a landscape scale; ii) the climatic, soil and topographic factors that might determine their distribution, and iii) the degree of association between the species within fragments. The study included the analysis of 78 oak forest fragments at the Cuitzeo lake Basin in Michoacán state, Mexico in which nine oak species were registered. The species showed clear differences in their distribution; three groups of oak species that differ significantly in their spatial arrangement were detected with a NMDS (Non-metric Multidimensional Scaling) analysis. We observed a relationship between oak species distribution with temperature and precipitation. In particular, Q. candicans, Q. crassipes and Q. rugosa were frequently distributed at sites with higher rainfall and lower temperature; in contrast, Q. deserticola, Q. gentryi and Q. glaucoides were at more arid areas. We found associations between pairs of oak species; the most recurrent one was between species from the Quercus and the Lobatae sections. Overall, the pattern of distribution among oak species was determined by environmental factors, which suggests that they partition their habitat to avoid competition for resources.

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Author Biography

Rafael Aguilar-Romero, Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores (ENES) Unidad Morelia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Estudiante de Doctorado
Patterns of distribution of nine <em>Quercus</em> species along an environmental gradient in a fragmented landscape in central Mexico
Published
2016-09-08
How to Cite
Aguilar-Romero, R., García-Oliva, F., Pineda-García, F., Torres, I., Peña-Vega, E., Ghilardi, A., & Oyama, K. (2016). Patterns of distribution of nine <em>Quercus</em&gt; species along an environmental gradient in a fragmented landscape in central Mexico. Botanical Sciences, 94(3), 471-482. https://doi.org/10.17129/botsci.620
Section
ECOLOGY / ECOLOGÍA