Environmental correlates of herpetofaunal diversity in Costa Rica Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract:Disentangling local and historical factors that determine species diversity patterns at multiple spatial scales is fundamental to elucidating processes that govern ecological communities. Here we investigated how environmental correlates may influence diversity at local and regional scales. Primarily utilizing published species lists, amphibian and reptile alpha and beta diversity were assessed at 17 well-surveyed sites distributed among ecoregions throughout Costa Rica. The degree to which regional species diversity patterns were related to environmental variables and geographic distance was determined using Canonical Correspondence Analysis and Mantel tests. Amphibian alpha diversity was highest in lowland Pacific sites (mean = 43.3 species) and lowest at the high elevation site (9 species). Reptile alpha diversity values were high for both lowland Atlantic (mean = 69.5 species) and lowland Pacific (mean = 67 species) sites and lowest for the high elevation site (8 species). We found high species turnover between local sites and ecoregions, demonstrating the importance of beta diversity in the determination of regional diversity. For both amphibians and reptiles, beta diversity was highest between the high-elevation site and all others, and lowest among lowland sites within the same ecoregion. The effect of geographic distance on beta diversity was minor. Ecologically significant climatic variables related to rain, temperature, sunshine and insolation were found to be important determinants of local and regional diversity for both amphibians and reptiles in Costa Rica.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Laurencio, D., & Fitzgerald, L. A.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Laurencio, David||Fitzgerald, Lee A

publication date

  • September 2010