Wind as a Long-Distance dispersal vehicle in the Southern Hemisphere

Francisco Cabezas cabezas at MA-RJB.CSIC.ES
Tue Jun 1 19:19:32 CDT 2004

Dear colleagues,
Long distance dispersal of cryptogams has been a long-lasting debate in
biological arenas over the years. The difficulty of testing the
long-distance dispersal by wind hypothesis was due to the lack of data
on winds with a good spatial and temporal coverage.
This changed five years ago when NASA launched the QuikScat satellite
bearing the SeaWinds instrument, which daily measures wind speed and
direction over oceans with a spatial resolution of 25 km.

We have used SeaWinds data to test the long-distance dispersal
hypothesis on four groups of cryptogams in the Southern Hemisphere:
mosses (601 species), liverworts (461 species), lichens (597 species)
and pteridophytes (192 species).
The paper is featured on the cover of the May 21 2004 Science issue
[304(5674): 1144-1146]. It's authored by Jesús Muñoz, Ángel M.
Felicísimo,Francisco Cabezas, Ana R. Burgaz and Isabel Martínez.

Its abstract reads:
"Anisotropic (direction-dependent) long-distance dispersal (LDD) by wind
has been invoked to explain the strong foristic affnities shared among
landmasses in the Southern Hemisphere. Its contribution has not yet been
systematically tested because of the previous lack of global data on
winds. We used global winds coverage from the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration SeaWinds scatterometer to test whether foristic
similarities of Southern Hemisphere moss, liverwort, lichen, and
pteridophyte floras conform better with (i) the anisotropic LDD
hypothesis, which predicts that connection by  wind highways  increases
foristic similarities, or (ii) a direction-independent LDD hypothesis,
which predicts that foristic
similarities among sites increase with geographic proximity. We found a
stronger correlation of foristic similarities with wind connectivity
than with geographic proximities, which supports the idea that wind is a
dispersal vehicle for many organisms in the Southern Hemisphere."

Anyone interested in the paper can send me an e-mail
<cabezas at> and I'll send the paper to him/her.

Francisco Cabezas

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