Quantitative biogeography in the South America highlands—recognizing the Altoandina, Puna and Prepuna through the study of Poaceae


* E-mail address:laagesen@darwin.edu.ar


The distribution data of 340 grass species sampled in a region of 53.219 km2 in the northwestern corner of Argentina (between ∼21°S and ∼24°S) were analyzed to search for concordance in species distributions by using the program NDM/VNDM. Here, the traditional biogeographic hypothesis proposed for the region is evaluated for the first time by using a quantitative method and an optimal criterion specifically developed within the context of areas of endemism. Three different grid sizes (0.5° × 0.5°, 0.35° × 0.35 ° and 0.2° × 0.2°) were used to analyze three nested data sets: species found in the Andes of Argentina, Bolivia and/or Chile; Andean distributed species; and all grass species found in the study region. The main areas supported by the analyses correspond generally to the traditional biogeographic hypothesis proposed for the region. Local distribution patterns defined by species restricted to the study region were best supported under the small grid sizes, while the bigger grid sizes recovered areas defined by species with a broader distribution. The local distribution patterns emerged in all the analyses even when widespread species were added to the data set.

 © The Willi Hennig Society 2009.