HB 20101112 Abstract creta Diversity and composition of palms

Diversity and composition of palm communities (Arecaceae) in Quintana
Roo Mexico
Arturo Alvarado1, Luz Ma. Calvo1, Rodrigo Duno1, Henrik Balslev2*
Unidad de Recursos Naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán A.C.,
Department of Biological Science, Aarhus University, Denmark.
* Correspondence: henrik.balslev@biology.au.dk
We compared composition and diversity of palm (Arecaceae) communities in three forest
types along a gradient from dry deciduous, over intermediate to wet evergreen forest in
Quintana Roo, Mexico. In forty-nine 5×500m transects, we counted 52,612 individuals
representing 14 species in 11 genera. Within the 49 transects we found monodominance in
six. The most abundant palms were Cryosophila stauracantha, Thrinax radiata and
Coccothrinax readii and the least abundant were Bactris major and Gaussia maya. Thrinax
radiata was the most abundant species in the northern deciduous and central intermediate
forests and Cryosophila stauracantha was the most abundant palm in the evergreen rain
forest to the south. Chamaedorea seifrizii and Sabal yapa were the most frequent palms in
the sample. Combining all individuals in the three forest types 29% were seedlings, 59%
juveniles, 1% subadults and 10% were adults. As expected, the Shannon index confirmed
that the southern evergreen forest was the most diverse. Because the Yucatan Peninsula has
been recognized as biotic province, and palms have ecological and economic importance,
our results could be relevant for conservation and contribute to understanding diversity
changes along gradients. Both species richness and overall palm abundance increased from
north to south, which correlates with higher precipitation, deeper soils, fewer ground rocks
and a higher forest cover.