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Department of Biogeography

Prof. Dr. Carl Beierkuhnlein

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Bachelor Thesis

Assessing Patterns of Species Diversity on the Canarian Island Archipelago

Manuel Steinbauer (12/2006-12/2007)

Support: Carl Beierkuhnlein, Vroni Retzer

The Canary Islands offer a wonderful experiment to prove the theory of island biogeography and to extend this theory to variables such as habitat heterogeneity and functional connectivity. Even if there is still some debate on the taxonomic status of some endemic species, there exists an excellent quality of biotic data that can be used for biogeographical analyses. This study compared island specific environmental data with distribution patterns for the following groups:

Spermatophyta, Pteridophyta, Bryophyta, Lichenes, Fungi, Chordata, Arthropoda, Mollusca. Besides alpha-diversity also beta-diversity relationships between islands is addressed. Considerable differences in the similarity patterns between organismic groups can be identified.

Additionally a scientific debate concerning interdependencies between species richness and endemism is addressed and valuable findings can be added here. This analysis is able to tackle evolutionary theories and deepen the discussion on the processes of immigration, extinction and speciation.

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