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TAXON

Plant Diversity and Resources

Differences between the floras of the North and South Moluccas (Indonesia)

Anne L.J. Rutgrink1, Michaël Visser1, and Peter C. van Welzen1,2*

1Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands

2Institute of Biology Leiden, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Keywords: dispersal barriers, Flora Malesiana, georeferencing, Indonesia, Maxent, Moluccas, Species Distribution Modelling, tectonic movements.

Abstract:

The north and south Moluccas (Indonesia) have very different geotectonic origins and, due to that, a difference in flora is to be expected. The north Moluccas moved westwards along the north coast of New Guinea to their present position, the south Moluccas moved north from Australia. On the other hand, a comparable climate in both areas and (partial) submergence during tectonic movement may have equalized both floras. Collection data from Naturalis Biodiversity Center on 1559 species in 121 families treated in Flora Malesiana were collected for the Moluccas, Sulawesi, and Western New Guinea (latitudes 9.2°S and 5.6°N and longitudes 118.8°E and 141°E) and georeferenced. Species Distribution Models (SDMs) were made, based on least correlated climate and edaphic variables, using only those species that were present in 5 or more grid cells of 5-arc minutes and models were tested for deviation from random. Both areas differ significantly and share only 50%-65% of their species. The 348 significant SDMs differ much less, though still significantly, sharing 91% of the species. Despite strong climatic and edaphic similarities between the North and South Moluccas, they differ greatly in species composition, which is in support of geotectonic reconstructions. The differences between the North and South Moluccas suggest that the continuous dispersal barriers and tectonic backgrounds have influenced their current flora.


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