Chinese researchers recently revealed different mechanisms that regulate plant diversity in tropical archipelagos, according to the South China Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

According to the study published in the journal Plant Diversity, researchers at the botanical garden selected two archipelagos, including 16 tropical coral islands and 21 tropical continental islands, and analyzed the diversity data of plant species and soil elements.

They discovered that the pattern of distribution of plant species diversity in the two archipelagos is in accordance with the classical theory of the species-area relationship of biogeography, which determines that the larger the island’s area, the greater the species diversity. But they also discovered that there are different mechanisms that maintain plant diversity in the two archipelagos.

For coral islands, they found that soil nutrients and spatial distance between communities play important roles in shaping plant community structure and species diversity. In contrast, they found that the direct effect of island area determines plant species richness on mainland islands, followed by the effect of soil nutrients.


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