About this Research Topic
Biodiversity has always been at the center of ecology and biogeography. The accumulated empirical studies and theoretical explorations on the puzzle of biodiversity have mainly focused on the spatial dimension, such as the latitudinal and altitudinal patterns of biodiversity at the global and regional scales. Considerable insights have been achieved in this regard, represented by proposed hypotheses of the generation and maintenance of biodiversity at various scales. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that further understanding of the variation of biodiversity requires more research on the temporal aspects, such as climate change and species distribution responses to the glacial-interglacial cycles in the Quaternary. The ecological, environmental and evolutionary processes, operating at various temporal scales, act as the critical drivers of the variation of biodiversity, presented at genetic, population, species or ecosystem levels. This prospect has been represented by either the “cradle-museum” framework of biodiversity generation at the macro-scale, or the “niche-neutral” theory of community assembly and species coexistence at the local scale.
However, probably limited by theoretical insight, methodology, or just data accumulation, the temporal aspect of biodiversity and the role of these processes have been inadequately studied, and the integration of the roles of different processes in determining biodiversity patterns is still immature. Nonetheless, the rapid progress and increasing application of high-tech innovation in biodiversity studies is quickly changing this situation. For example, genome technology can rapidly uncover the genetic mechanisms of population dynamics and evolutionary processes, remote sensing techniques improve the monitoring capacity for animal dispersal and landscape changes, and isotope and fossil analyzing techniques help date the geological processes of deep history. All of these advanced methodologies are working together to build our understanding of the temporal aspect of biodiversity.
This Research Topic aims to act as a small but deliberate step pushing forward the efforts to understand the temporal aspect of patterns and mechanisms of biodiversity. It will collect a group of studies (empirical, theoretical, or review) to explore the roles of ecological, evolutionary or environmental processes and the related time-scales on the variation of biodiversity in a particular spatial context of China and its neighboring regions. This is because the focal region shares a common biogeographic context, characterized by the regional geological process (dominated by the uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau), monsoon-regulated climate system, and long history of intensive human perturbation on the natural ecosystem. Our Research Topic aims to reflect the progress represented by studies at the population, species and community levels.
While the papers in this collection will mainly come from submissions to the first China Biogeography Conference (September 13-15, 2019 in Beijing), we welcome relevant submissions from other countries and regions.
Keywords: temporal pattern, processes, biodiversity, scale, biogeography
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.