Ecological Ranges of Plant Species in the Monsoon Zone of the Russian Far East pp. 33-68
Authors: (Vitaly P. Seledets, Nina S. Probatova, Pacific Institute of Geography FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia, and others)
Abstract: The monsoon zone covers a considerable part of the Russian Far East (RFE), which includes the Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin, the Kurile Islands, the continental coasts and islands of the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan, and the Amur River basin. The problem of biodiversity in the monsoon zone is connected to species adaptations, speciation and florogenesis, the formation of plant communities, vegetation dynamics, and population structure. Our concept of the ecological range (ecorange, ER) of plant species (Seledets & Probatova 2007b) is aimed at adaptive strategies in the RFE monsoon zone compared with Inner Asia. Every species has its own ER, which changes in different parts of the species geographical range. The ER is part of a multidimensional ecological space (MES). Grades of ecological factors were estimated by the scales of L.G. Ramensky, which we modified for the monsoon zone of the RFE. The ER of plant species is a complex of coenotic populations (coenopopulations) within the geographic range of the species. We distinguish a holoecorange (HER, part of ecological space, where the species is able to exist) and a coenoecorange (CER, where the species predominates in plant communities). The ER is characterized by dimensions, configuration, and orientation in the MES, by effectiveness (CER/HER ratio) and also by the ecological optimum and the center of the HER, which coincide in some cases (symmetrical ER) but not in others (asymmetrical ER). The position of the ER in the MES indicates the area of the species‘ ecological adaptation. The configuration of the ER shows the path of ecological adaptation. HERs show the ability of taxa to occupy a certain part of the MES. The CER indicates the ability of species to predominate in plant communities. The ecological optimum refers to the most favorable combination of ecological factors. The center of the HER refers to the most probable ecological optimum if interspecific competition would be absent. The CER/HER ratio refers to the effectiveness of ecological adaptation of species. The disposition of the ecological optimum and the center of the ER show the trend of ecological adaptation. It was reported that properties of ER could be useful as indicators of ecological differentiation of taxa in connection with evolutionary processes. Special attention was paid to ERs in species with various ploidy levels. The trend of ER extension with the increase of ploidy and caryological polymorphism in species was revealed. Coenopopulations of species in geographical profiles from the monsoon zone to inland areas show the transformation that probably affects all of the properties of the ER. The continental climate causes the ―continentalization‖ of ecological niches.
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