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Links to rare climates do not translate into distinct traits for island endemics

Cutts, Vanessa; Hanz, Dagmar M.; Barajas-Barbosa, Martha Paola; Schrodt, Franziska; Steinbauer, Manuel J.; Beierkuhnlein, Carl; Denelle, Pierre; Fernández-Palacios, José María; Gaüzère, Pierre; Grenié, Matthias; Irl, Severin D.H.; Kraft, Nathan; Kreft, Holger; Maitner, Brian; Munoz, François; Thuiller, Wilfried; Violle, Cyrille; Weigelt, Patrick; Field, Richard; Algar, Adam C.

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Vanessa Cutts

Dagmar M. Hanz

Martha Paola Barajas-Barbosa

Manuel J. Steinbauer

Carl Beierkuhnlein

Pierre Denelle

José María Fernández-Palacios

Pierre Gaüzère

Matthias Grenié

Severin D.H. Irl

Nathan Kraft

Holger Kreft

Brian Maitner

François Munoz

Wilfried Thuiller

Cyrille Violle

Patrick Weigelt

Associate Professor


Current models of island biogeography treat endemic and non-endemic species as if they were functionally equivalent, focussing primarily on species richness. Thus, the functional composition of island biotas in relation to island biogeographical variables remains largely unknown. Using plant trait data (plant height, leaf area and flower length) for 895 native species in the Canary Islands, we related functional trait distinctiveness and climate rarity for endemic and non-endemic species and island ages. Endemics showed a link to climatically rare conditions that is consistent with island geological change through time. However, functional trait distinctiveness did not differ between endemics and non-endemics and remained constant with island age. Thus, there is no obvious link between trait distinctiveness and occupancy of rare climates, at least for the traits measured here, suggesting that treating endemic and non-endemic species as functionally equivalent in island biogeography is not fundamentally wrong.


Cutts, V., Hanz, D. M., Barajas-Barbosa, M. P., Schrodt, F., Steinbauer, M. J., Beierkuhnlein, C., …Algar, A. C. (2023). Links to rare climates do not translate into distinct traits for island endemics. Ecology Letters, 26(4), 504-515.

Journal Article Type Letter
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 5, 2023
Publication Date 2023-04
Deposit Date Feb 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 7, 2023
Journal Ecology Letters
Print ISSN 1461-023X
Electronic ISSN 1461-0248
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 26
Issue 4
Pages 504-515
Keywords Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Public URL
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