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1 December 2007 Environmental correlates of species richness of European bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera)
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We use data of bat species richness of 58 European countries and larger islands from Fauna Europaea augmented by recent faunal surveys of particular countries to evaluate the effects of area, latitude, annual temperature range, and mean winter length (days < 0°C), geographical heterogeneity, number of plant species, and distance from Turkey on bat species richness. Area, latitude, and temperature range explained more than 73% of the total variability in European bat species richness. Latitude and temperature corrected species-area relationships of vespertilionid bats were fitted by the power function model with mainland countries having a lower slope (z = 0.09) than islands (z = 0.15) consistent with current theory. The area corrected centre of vespertilionid species richness was at about 46°N with Croatia being most species rich (34 species). Non-vespertilionid bats peaked at 41°N and did not show a simple latitudinal gradient. The inclusion of plant species richness in the model for Vespertilionidae did not lower the significant influence of area and latitude on species richness. Plant species richness itself was not a major predictor of bat species richness. Three environmental characteristics (latitude, area and temperature) are the main predictors of bat species richness in Europe. These attributes act in an additive manner. This phenomenon allows potential covariates to be eliminated from species-area relationships using simple regression techniques. Further, additive models constructed in this way allow for a ranking of countries with respect to species richness.

Werner Ulrich, Konrad Sachanowicz, and Mariusz Michalak "Environmental correlates of species richness of European bats (Mammalia: Chiroptera)," Acta Chiropterologica 9(2), 347-360, (1 December 2007).[347:ECOSRO]2.0.CO;2
Received: 7 May 2007; Accepted: 1 August 2007; Published: 1 December 2007

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