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Title: A trait-based approach to changes in spatiotemporal patterns of biodiversity
Author: White, Hannah Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 6509
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2017
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Spatial and temporal variation in biodiversity is shaped by a combination of abiotic and biotic factors. Most research into these relationships has focused on taxonomic diversity as the currency of biodiversity; however, this term covers a range of other aspects including genetic diversity, phylogenetic diversity and, the focus of this thesis, functional diversity. The range and variation in species traits is a vital area of research due to their importance in ecosystem functioning as well as determining species responses to the environment. They are, therefore, a crucial biodiversity component to consider in conservation science. The main aim of this thesis was to identify spatial and temporal patterns of functional diversity and to determine how these differ from observed patterns of taxonomic diversity such as species richness using a range of statistical approaches to deal with the inherent characteristics of biodiversity data such as spatial autocorrelation. Primarily this thesis focuses on British birds, but Scottish machair vegetation is also considered. These represent well recorded datasets so that statistical relationships revealed are a true representation of biological phenomena as opposed to a map of recorder effort. Spatial drivers of functional diversity differ from those of taxonomic diversity indicating a decoupling of the two biodiversity axes. Additionally, patterns of functional homogenisation do not match with those of taxonomic homogenisation. Despite differences in spatial patterns of species and traits, interspecific variation in the drivers of changes in species occurrences can partially be explained by their traits indicating a link between the two. Phylogenetic diversity also varies spatially and the location of biodiversity hotspots shifts not only with the diversity metric being investigated but also the spatial scale of measurement. This thesis highlights a number of important considerations for conservation planning and the results can contribute to better predictions, and understanding, of the consequences of climate change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available