The distribution and diversity of Texas vertebrates: an ecoregion perspective



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Texas Tech University


One goal of this thesis was to provide information on the distribution and diversity of Texas vertebrates in a manner that can be used by decision-makers to assist in locating future biodiversity reserves. My objectives were to use the ecoregion as the unit of measure for describing the distribution and diversity of Texas vertebrates by determining:

  1. which species live in each ecoregion,
  2. the species richness for each ecoregion,
  3. the number of threatened and endangered species living in each ecoregion,
  4. coefficient of community values, as a measure of uniqueness, for each ecoregion pair.
  5. the number of species living in each ecoregion that are found only in that ecoregion, and
  6. the current amount of land in each ecoregion currently managed by state and federal agencies for the protection of biodiversity.

In addition, several theories including island biogeography, habitat heterogeneity, dimatic stability, productivity, and latitude have been proposed to explain why more species live in one area than another. A second goal of my research was to assess how well these theories explained vertebrate diversity in Texas. Specifically. I tested the following null hypothesis: Ho: The number of vertebrate species living in the ecoregions of Texas is not related to the diversity of habitats found within ecoregions, the spatial location of ecoregions, or climatic factors influencing the ecology of ecoregions.

To test this overall null hypothesis I used simple linear regression to evaluate the relationship between habitat (Table 1.1), location (Table 1.2), and climate (Table 1.3) and the variation in vertebrate richness among the ecoregions of Texas.



Ecosystem management, Vertebrates, Biological diversity