Elevational differences of the two closely related Taxus species in
sympatric, evidence from species distribution modeling
Climate change is considered to affect the species distribution deeply
in time and space. Knowledge of how plant distribution responded to
climate change may help us know their evolutionary history and predict
ongoing environmental changes. Elevational range shifts of species in
response to climate change is a common phenomenon in mountains,
especially for the closely related species in sympatric. Here, we
selected Taxus chinensis and Taxus mairei to explore this issue. Four
types of environmental variables were used to simulate the distribution
patterns, under the historical climate and future climate change
scenarios, with the optimization Maxent model. We found that
elevational distribution of two species has significant differences. The
distribution of T. chinensis was higher than that of T. mairei. The
centroid of T. chinensis and T. mairei were in Sichuan and Hunan
province, respectively. Temperature and precipitation were the main
factors that determine the potential distribution of the two species,
and the suitable distribution area of T. chinensis was lower than T.
mairei. In the future, the direction of centroid migration of two
species was almost opposite, T. chinensis will shift southwest while T.
mairei go northeast. Our results not only provided an insight to
discriminate two sympatric species in subtropical and warm temperature
zones, but also gave us an important reference for the conservation of
these valuable endangered species.