Orchid species richness along Himalayan elevation gradients

One of my paper on orchids from Nepal and Bhutan is published in an internal journal, Journal of Biogeography. The paper is available on line on 12 May 2011. Its great experience for me to publish article in such journal. Ohh... it took nearly 18 months to get published. Many many thanks to my two co-authors who from the very beginning encouraged me for this paper.
The study explores the relationship between orchid species richness along elevational gradients in the Central Himalaya (Nepal Himalaya) and Eastern Himalaya (this includes Bhutan and its adjoining areas).
This study is based on secondary sources. We used published data on the distribution of orchids to interpolate presence between maximum and minimum recorded elevations in 100-m elevational zones. These patterns were compared with previously published patterns for other plant groups, which were derived in the same way.
A hump-shaped relationship between orchid species richness and elevation was observed in Nepal and Bhutan, with maximum richness at 1600 m a.s.l. corresponding to c. 16 C mean annual temperature. The richness of orchid species that are endemic to central and eastern Himalaya showed a bimodal pattern. Richness of endemic epiphytes peaked at elevation zones similar to those for total richness, but the peak in numbers of endemic terrestrial species occurred at a higher elevation.
This study shows that climatic variables (temperature and precipitation) provide a good potential explanation for orchid species richness along the Himalayan elevational gradient, even when the effect of area is considered. The principal elevational peak in richness of central and eastern Himalayan endemics was consistent with the peak in total orchid richness, but maximum terrestrial endemic richness occurred at higher elevations.
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