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Title: Numerical analysis of distribution patterns in the British and European floras
Author: Finnie, Thomas James Ronald
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 4854
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2007
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This work is a study in plant distribution, phytogeography. It covers the identification, classification and interpretation of landscape-scale patterns within the British and European floras. I show the implementation and characteristics of a new mathematical method for species group definition. This method provides an objective, multistage procedure which extracts both well-known and previously undetected species groups. Application of this method to the complete native British flora found fresh phytogeographical groups and confirmed familiar groups such as calcicolous, coastal and montane species. Many of these groups are shown to be formed by broad-scale environmental variables. The new classification of the British flora is detailed. Classification of the European flora revealed wider phytogeographic patterns. Differences between species richness and group densities highlighted regional variations of alpha and beta diversity across regions, as well as indicating distributional differences between national and continental scales. Finally, I investigate the utilisation of species distribution patterns within mathematical ecology. Nestedness of bryophyte species is considered with particular reference to climatic influence. The results show the relative geographical correspondence of the species in each group, indicate those species that do not fit the general pattern and give the overall geographical similarity of each class. I also examine the effect of species patterns on species-area relationships. Different results may be obtained from the choice of the initial site or by the scale used. Increasing scales caused a decrease in the power law exponent, z, and low species density in the initial study area was strongly linked to high z values. Species distributions are spatially uneven and repeat across many taxa, they allow classifications of distributions and influence outcomes of theoretical and practical studies. My new classifications provide a reference point for future studies and, combined with further mathematical research, will offer insights into the relationships between species.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available