Species richness patterns along environmental gradients in island land molluscan fauna

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The relationship between species richness and environmental variables may change depending on habitat structure, dispersal ability, species mixing, and community adaptation to the environment. It is crucial to know how these factors regulate the environment-diversity relationship. The land molluscan fauna of the Ogasawara Islands in the West Pacific is an excellent model system to address this question because of the high species endemicity (>90%), small area, and simple habitat structure of the islands. I examined relationships among indigenous species composition, richness, and habitat condition, and especially productivity and forest moisture on the island of Anijima. Two major communities of snails could be distinguished by detrended correspondence analysis (DCA): one group dominated in a moist habitat with high productivity, and the other group dominated in a dry habitat with low productivity. However, species richness became highest at the intermediate condition between the habitats in which the two snail communities were dominant, so that species richness showed a hump-shaped relationship with moisture and productivity. In contrast, the species richness of the snail community in the moist habitat showed a monotonically positive correlation, and that in the dry habitat showed a monotonically negative correlation with moisture and productivity. Thus, the greater species richness in intermediate moisture and productivity resulted from the ecotone effect or community overlap at the transitional areas, where faunas with different ecologies can meet in a single site. These findings suggest that hump-shaped productivity-diversity relationships in land Mollusca would reflect the ecotone effect as a result of the mixing of species adapted to either fertile habitats or sterile habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1738-1746
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jul


  • Diversity pattern
  • Ecotone effect
  • Japan
  • Land mollusca
  • Mass effect
  • Ogasawara
  • Productivity
  • Species richness


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