Null models and spatial patterns of species richness in South American birds of prey



In this paper, we used geostatistical approaches to describe bi-dimensional spatial patterns in species richness of South American birds of prey (Falconiformes and Strigiformes). They indicated strong spatial patterns both across latitude and longitude, for the two groups. These patterns were then correlated with those expected by a bi-dimensional null model constructed to take into account South America continental edges. As considerable departures from the null model were observed, there may be other ecological or evolutionary explanations for spatial patterns in species richness. Variation seems to be related to habitat heterogeneity across the continent, especially when considering differences between habitats in the central and south-eastern portion of the continent and in the Andean region. This supports previous conclusions that habitat type and heterogeneity affect species richness and abundance at different spatial scales.