Island biogeography of young land uplift islands - viewed through the lens of bryophytes in a northern Swedish archipelago

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Umeå University

Sammanfattning: Increasing habitat fragmentation and rapid global warming is changing the conditions for species populations and ecological communities around the world. This presents challenges for the maintenance of biodiversity and a dominant paradigm for conservation in fragmented habitats is given by island biogeography and metapopulation (or metacommunity) ecology.In this thesis I approach key concepts (area, connectivity and community assembly) in island biogeography and metacommunity ecology within the context of a dynamic land uplift archipelago. The presented work consists of two interwoven themes: (i) A methodological theme in which statistical approaches are developed to deal with the complexities of multispecies dynamic systems, and (ii) an applied theme dealing with community assembly and island biogeography of bryophytes on young land uplift islands.To describe island connectivity for entire species assemblages, an approach using functional principal component analysis (fPCA) on patch connectivity functions (the connectivity of an island as a continuous function of a variable representing the spatial scale of species dispersal capacities) was developed. In addition, a new statistical method, functional co-inertia analysis (fCoIA), for analyzing co-variation between multivariate species data and continuous functions was developed and applied to the relation between bryophyte species incidences and the island age/area-dynamics.Primarily asexual bryophyte species are dispersal limited and presence probabilities are related to island connectivity. No such patterns were found for species, at least occasionally, producing spores. Our results suggest that bryophyte dispersal is regulated by the contribution of spores to a regional spore rain and that bryophyte species with low spore output at the landscape level may be extra vulnerable under habitat fragmentation and loss. Having specialized asexual propagules increases the presence probabilities on islands, partly compensating for the dispersal limitation in asexual species. This suggests a trade-off between dispersal and establishment capacity, but also points to the importance of local dispersal for maintaining populations under the succession driven spatial turnover of microsites on the islands. Bryophyte colonization is strongly limited by habitat availability when a given habitats is rare, but there seems to exist a threshold over which other processes (e.g. dispersal limitation) become more important. Species with more vagile life history strategies appear to be stronger affected by the area of available habitats than many perennial species