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The Biology of Deserts$
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David Ward

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199211470

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199211470.001.0001

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Biodiversity and biogeography of deserts

Biodiversity and biogeography of deserts

(p.192) 9 Biodiversity and biogeography of deserts
The Biology of Deserts

David Ward

Oxford University Press

Although there is a common perception that deserts support few species, some deserts have high local diversity, largely because organisms are able to exploit patches of high productivity. This chapter differentiates between local species richness (also called α diversity), β diversity, which is also known as species turnover or the change in species among sites, and γ diversity, which is regional species diversity. Productivity-diversity relationships have been well studied in some deserts and have helped us understand the factors controlling ecosystem function at a large spatial scale. Studies of convergence of desert communities and consideration of the similarity of desert communities with neighbouring mesic communities are some of the best elucidated of this genre. The chapter also considers the major differences and similarities among desert taxa in the various deserts of the world, to draw inferences on the major biogeographic patterns.

Keywords:   productivity-diversity, convergence, divergence, species richness, species turnover, regional diversity

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