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Beta diversity of urban floras among European and non-European cities

Authors

  • Frank A. La Sorte,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA
    • Correspondence: Frank A. La Sorte, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.

      E-mail: fal42@cornell.edu

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  • Myla F. J. Aronson,

    1. Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
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  • Nicholas S. G. Williams,

    1. Department of Resource Management and Geography, The University of Melbourne, Richmond, VIC, Australia
    2. Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, c/o School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
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  • Laura Celesti-Grapow,

    1. Environmental Biology Department, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
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  • Sarel Cilliers,

    1. Unit of Environmental Sciences and Development, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
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  • Bruce D. Clarkson,

    1. Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
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  • Rebecca W. Dolan,

    1. Friesner Herbarium and Center for Urban Ecology, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN, USA
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  • Andrew Hipp,

    1. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL, USA
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  • Stefan Klotz,

    1. Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle, Germany
    2. German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle–Jena–Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Ingolf Kühn,

    1. Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle, Germany
    2. German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle–Jena–Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Petr Pyšek,

    1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Průhonice, Czech Republic
    2. Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University Prague, Praha 2, Czech Republic
    3. Centre for Invasion Biology, Department of Botany and Zoology, Stellenbosch University, Matieland, South Africa
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  • Stefan Siebert,

    1. Unit of Environmental Sciences and Development, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
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  • Marten Winter

    1. German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle–Jena–Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
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  • Editor: Erica Fleishman

Abstract

Aim

Cities represent an ideal study system for assessing how intensive land-use change and biotic interchange have altered beta diversity at broad geographic extents. Here we test the hypothesis that floras in cities located in disparate regions of the globe are being homogenized by species classified as invasive (naturalized species that have spread over a large area) or as a European archaeophyte (species introduced into Europe before ad 1500 from the Mediterranean Basin). We also test the prediction that the global influences of European activities (colonization, agriculture, commerce) have supported this outcome.

Location

One hundred and ten cities world-wide.

Methods

We examined the richness and composition of urban floras among European (n = 85) and non-European cities (n = 25) for species classified as native or non-native, or further classified as European archaeophyte or invasive. We modelled how geographic, climatic and anthropogenic factors were related to compositional similarity between European and non-European cities.

Results

We found that most plants in the cities we examined, particularly non-European cities, were native and unique to each city. Non-native species were similarly unique, but occurred in much lower proportions relative to natives. Although European archaeophytes and invasive species also occurred in lower proportions, they had similar compositions among cities. European archaeophytes were most prevalent in European cities, but were most similar among non-European cities. Contrasting European and non-European cities, geography and climate were most relevant for native and invasive species, whereas climate and agriculture were most relevant for European archaeophytes.

Main conclusions

Cities in disparate regions of the globe retain regionally distinct native and non-native plant assemblages, while invasive species, and especially European archaeophytes, were associated with lower beta diversity among cities. These findings suggest that intensive land-use change and biotic interchange, shaped through European influences, have had a world-wide effect on the beta diversity of urban plant assemblages.

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