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Research article in PLOS open-access science journal explains global biodiversity patterns

World map with various colors shows global patterns of terrestrial vertebrate diversity from PLOS paper by Jetz and Fine

Global patterns of terrestrial vertebrate diversity analyzed in the study. Each of the 32 bioregions is colored by its vertebrate species richness (amphibian, reptile, bird, mammal richness combined; dark green represents the lowest values and dark red represents the highest values -- click on image for full size).

Explaining the variable distribution and abundance of species such as latitudinal gradients has been the goal of biodiversity researchers since the patterns were first described by 19th century naturalists.

An important paper in the March edition of PLOS (Public Library of Science) Biology throws light on these complex global biodiversity patterns.

In the PLOS paper, Walter Jetz and Paul Fine look at biodiversity patterns among amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Their analysis compares processes such as history, habitat area and productivity at different spatial and temporal scales, combining them in a single statistical framework. The model shows the relative importance of the various processes driving biodiversity, and the scales at which such processes become important.

Of course, the bottom line is how the data can be used to map the vulnerability of habitats onto species richness, helping scientists prioritize areas and species for conservation efforts.

Jetz W, Fine PVA (2012) Global Gradients in Vertebrate Diversity Predicted by Historical Area-Productivity Dynamics and Contemporary Environment. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001292

2 Comments on "Research article in PLOS open-access science journal explains global biodiversity patterns"

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  1. Open access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader “without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. Some are subsidized, and some require payment on behalf of the author. Subsidized journals are financed by an academic institution, learned society or a government information center; those requiring payment are typically financed by money made available to researchers for the purpose from a public or private funding agency, as part of a research grant. There have also been several modifications of open access journals that have considerably different natures: hybrid open access journals and delayed open access journals.
    Open access journals (sometimes called the “gold road to open access”) are one of the two general methods for providing open access. The other one (sometimes called the “green road”) is self-archiving in a repository. The publisher of an open access journal is known as an “open access publisher”, and the process, “open access publishing”.

  2. Justine says:

    Very interesting paper, thanks for the read.

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