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The Biology of Deserts$
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David Ward

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732754.001.0001

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Biodiversity and Biogeography of Deserts

Biodiversity and Biogeography of Deserts

Chapter:
(p.204) 9 Biodiversity and Biogeography of Deserts
Source:
The Biology of Deserts
Author(s):

David Ward

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732754.003.0009

Productivity–diversity relationships have been well studied in some deserts and have helped us to understand the factors controlling ecosystem function at a large spatial scale. Studies of convergence of desert communities and consideration of their similarity with neighbouring mesic communities are some of the best elucidated of this genre. One of the main differences between floras and faunas of the world, particularly in deserts, occurred because of the break-up of Pangaea and the later split between the southern Gondwanan continent and the northern Laurasian continent. Although there is clear derivation of many desert organisms from their mesic adjacent taxa, cases of convergent evolution of desert forms abound, presumably because of the similarities in selection pressures placed on these organisms. There are also some interesting cases of ecological character displacement in deserts that may occur when any two or more species overlap in a crucial aspect of their niches.

Keywords:   species richness, species diversity, beta diversity, regional diversity, ephemeral pools, productivity–diversity, convergence, Gondwana, Laurasia, character displacement

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