The last February, I attended the Species on the Move Conference in Tasmania, where I presented a Poster. Here it is a small summary of the poster: using extensive distribution data of bryophytes and vascular plants in Europe, we tested whether these two groups follow the same latitudinal trend in species richness. To this end, we analyzed predictions of species distributions models and macroecological models coupled with species turnover and nestedness analysis, Lee’s L statistics, multimodel inferences and canonical correspondence analysis. Despite, the existence of a latitudinal diversity gradient peaking near the equator and decreasing towards the poles has been a persistent feature during the history of life on Earth. Our results show that vascular plants and bryophytes exhibit opposing latitudinal patterns in species richness. These results have been also submitted to Scientific Reports.
After the conference, I have been traveling around Australia, I visited different Protected Areas:
South Bruny National Park: it is possible to find interesting coastal plants (some of them with high tolerance to salt spray and wind): she-oaks (Casuarina sp.), casuarinas (Allocasuarina sp.), Pimelea nivea (Lamiaceae), Hakea epiglotis (Proteaceae), Ozothamnus reticulatus (Asteraceae), Banksia spp., Acacia spp., etc. Also, it is possible to visit a impressive rainforest with eucalyptus and tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica). Rainforest once covered most of the ancient southern super-continent Gondwana.
Mt. Field National Park: at the base of the mountain, tall swamp gum (Eucalyptus regnans) forests with tree ferns (Dicksonia antarctica), Nothofagus sp., Atherosperma moschatum, etc. Swamp gum is the tallest flowering plant and one of the tallest trees in the world. It grows to 90 meters.
Phillip Island Nature Park: little penguin (Eudyptula minor), black wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), cape barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae), short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeates), etc. Little penguin is the smallest species of penguin.
Great Otway National Park at the Great Ocean Road: temperate rainforest and wet sclerophyll forests. It is easy to see: king parrots (Alisterus sp.), crimson rosellas (Platycercus elegans), sulphur-crested cockatoos (Cacatua galerita), Australian magpies (Cracticus tibicen), koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus), etc.
Glass House Mountains National Park: it is a flat plain scattered by the cores of extinct volcanoes. It is a forest with Eucalyptus spp., casuarinas (Allocasuarina sp.), grass trees (Xanthorrhoea sp.), etc.
Bunya Mountains National Park: a magnificent relict subtropical rainforest with buttressed tress, vines, epiphytes (i.e. Asplenium australasicum), strangler figs (i.e. Ficus watkinsiana), palms, etc. Some plant species: bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii), Araucaria cunninghamii, Argyrodendron trifoliolatum, Toona ciliata, Olea paniculata, Baloghia inophylla, Citronella moorei, Dendrocnide excelsa. At the camping area is really easy to see red-necked wallaby (Macropus rufogriseus).
Lady Musgrave Island: coral reef and a spectacular pisonia (Pisonia grandis) forest with she-oaks (Casuarina sp.) and screw palm (Pandanus spiralis).
All the pictures are here 😉