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B. W.J. van Rensburg

Bio: B. W.J. van Rensburg is an academic researcher from University of Pretoria. The author has contributed to research in topics: Species richness & Biodiversity. The author has an hindex of 9, co-authored 24 publications receiving 550 citations.

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings indicate that species richness is correlated with, and hence likely a function of, several variables, that spatial resolution and extent must be taken into account during investigations of these relationships, and that surrogate measures for productivity should be interpreted cautiously.
Abstract: Energy and habitat heterogeneity are important correlates of spatial variation in species richness, though few investigations have sought to determine simultaneously their relative influences. Here we use the South African avifauna to examine the extent to which species richness is related to these variables and how these relationships depend on spatial grain. Taking spatial autocorrelation and area effects into account, we find that primary productivity, precipitation, absolute minimum temperature, and, at coarser resolutions, habitat heterogeneity account for most of the variation in species richness. Species richness and productivity are positively related, whereas the relationship between potential evapotranspiration (PET) and richness is unimodal. This is largely because of the constraining effects of low rainfall on productivity in high-PET areas. The increase in the importance of vegetation heterogeneity as an explanatory variable is caused largely by an increase in the range of vegetation heterogeneity included at coarse resolutions and is probably also a result of the positive effects of environmental heterogeneity on species richness. Our findings indicate that species richness is correlated with, and hence likely a function of, several variables, that spatial resolution and extent must be taken into account during investigations of these relationships, and that surrogate measures for productivity should be interpreted cautiously.

209 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Data on the distributions of birds in South Africa and Lesotho is used to find that for five measures that are expected to reflect the location of areas of ecological transition, complementary sets tend to select higher values of these measures than expected by chance.
Abstract: Minimum complementary sets of sites that represent each species at least once have been argued to provide a nominal core reserve network and the starting point for regional conservation programs. However, this approach may be inadequate if there is a tendency to represent several species at marginal areas within their ranges, which may occur if high efficiency results from preferential selection of sites in areas of ecological transition. Here we use data on the distributions of birds in South Africa and Lesotho to explore this idea. We found that for five measures that are expected to reflect the location of areas of ecological transition, complementary sets tend to select higher values of these measures than expected by chance. We recommend that methods for the identification of priority areas for conservation that incorporate viability concerns be preferred to minimum representation sets, even if this results in more costly reserve networks.

96 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Jan 1992-Nephron
TL;DR: The circadian rhythm of melatonin secretion would appear to be suppressed in CRF as the nocturnal secretory surge was absent in all HD patients and in 80% of the posttransplantation patients studied.
Abstract: The melatonin status of patients in end-stage chronic renal failure (CRF) was evaluated by the determination of daytime plasma melatonin levels and by the investigation of the circadian rhythmicity of melatonin secretion. A significant increase in plasma melatonin concentration was found in all CRF patient groups investigated, i.e. CRF patients on conservative treatment (CT; n = 48), CRF patients on maintenance haemodialysis treatment (HD; n = 39) and CRF patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD; n = 32). Successful transplantation led to a marked reduction in plasma melatonin levels. The circadian rhythm of melatonin secretion would appear to be suppressed in CRF as the nocturnal secretory surge was absent in all HD patients and in 80% of the posttransplantation patients studied.

44 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide a detailed comparison of the avian biodiversity found inside and outside protected areas (PAs), focusing on three PAs distributed widely across South Africa, finding that bird assemblages were richer, with a higher density, and a different structural and functional composition inside than outside the PAs.
Abstract: While the importance of individual protected areas (PAs) to biological conservation is widely acknowledged, rather few empirical studies have explicitly attempted to assess their ecological effectiveness. Significantly, this includes consideration of how well they represent the biodiversity of taxonomic groups for which the designation of these areas was not a primary or intentional goal. Here, we provide one of the most detailed comparisons to date of the avian biodiversity found inside and outside PAs, focusing on three PAs distributed widely across South Africa. Typically, bird assemblages were richer, with a higher density, and a different structural and functional composition inside than outside the PAs. Importantly, insectivore richness was much higher inside than outside, and the converse was true of granivores. Overall, these findings suggest that PAs do indeed provide valuable repositories for native biodiversity, with species richness, density and species composition being substantially different beyond their bounds. With human land-use increasing in South Africa, and habitat transformation recognized as a major and growing threat to biodiversity, such differences are expected to become greater.

43 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated fine-scale variation in spider assemblages, comparing five representative vegetation types in the western Soutpansberg, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Abstract: Coarse-scale studies that focus on species distributions and richness neglect heterogeneity that may be present at finer scales. Studies of arthropod assemblage structure at fine (1 × 1 km) scales are rare, but important, because these are the spatial levels at which real world applications are viable. Here we investigate fine-scale variation in spider assemblages, comparing five representative vegetation types in the western Soutpansberg, Limpopo Province, South Africa. We assess these vegetation types in terms of their family and species composition, as well as levels of endemicity, relating these differences with vegetation structure. We inventoried 297 species (49 families) in an area less than 450 ha, as part of South African National Survey of Arachnida. Analysis of the results suggests that endemic taxa are associated with Tall Forest and, to a lesser extent, Woodland. The Woodland had the highest species diversity, and much of the variation observed in spider assemblage structure is explained by these two vegetation types. Based on vegetation structure variables that explained significant variation in spider assemblages, human influence through bush encroachment will result in a change of spider assemblages to that of Short Forest and Mosaic Woodland vegetation types, with implications for biodiversity maintenance and heterogeneity.

42 citations


Cited by
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TL;DR: It is shown that ecological effects of habitat heterogeneity may vary considerably between species groups depending on whether structural attributes are perceived as heterogeneity or fragmentation, and possible effects may also vary relative to the structural variable measured.
Abstract: Aim In a selected literature survey we reviewed studies on the habitat heterogeneity–animal species diversity relationship and evaluated whether there are uncertainties and biases in its empirical support. Location World-wide. Methods We reviewed 85 publications for the period 1960–2003. We screened each publication for terms that were used to define habitat heterogeneity, the animal species group and ecosystem studied, the definition of the structural variable, the measurement of vegetation structure and the temporal and spatial scale of the study. Main conclusions The majority of studies found a positive correlation between habitat heterogeneity/diversity and animal species diversity. However, empirical support for this relationship is drastically biased towards studies of vertebrates and habitats under anthropogenic influence. In this paper, we show that ecological effects of habitat heterogeneity may vary considerably between species groups depending on whether structural attributes are perceived as heterogeneity or fragmentation. Possible effects may also vary relative to the structural variable measured. Based upon this, we introduce a classification framework that may be used for across-studies comparisons. Moreover, the effect of habitat heterogeneity for one species group may differ in relation to the spatial scale. In several studies, however, different species groups are closely linked to ‘keystone structures’ that determine animal species diversity by their presence. Detecting crucial keystone structures of the vegetation has profound implications for nature conservation and biodiversity management.

2,668 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
01 Dec 2003-Ecology
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the relationship between climate and biodiversity and conclude that the interaction between water and energy, either directly or indirectly, provides a strong explanation for globally extensive plant and animal diversity gradients, but for animals there also is a latitudinal shift in the relative importance of ambient energy vs. water moving from the poles to the equator.
Abstract: It is often claimed that we do not understand the forces driving the global diversity gradient. However, an extensive literature suggests that contemporary climate constrains terrestrial taxonomic richness over broad geographic extents. Here, we review the empirical literature to examine the nature and form of the relationship between climate and richness. Our goals were to document the support for the climatically based energy hypothesis, and within the constraints imposed by correlative analyses, to evaluate two versions of the hypothesis: the productivity and ambient energy hypotheses. Focusing on studies extending over 800 km, we found that measures of energy, water, or water-energy balance explain spatial variation in richness better than other climatic and non-climatic variables in 82 of 85 cases. Even when considered individually and in isolation, water/ energy variables explain on average over 60% of the variation in the richness of a wide range of plant and animal groups. Further, water variables usually represent the strongest predictors in the tropics, subtropics, and warm temperate zones, whereas energy variables (for animals) or water-energy variables (for plants) dominate in high latitudes. We conclude that the interaction between water and energy, either directly or indirectly (via plant productivity), provides a strong explanation for globally extensive plant and animal diversity gradients, but for animals there also is a latitudinal shift in the relative importance of ambient energy vs. water moving from the poles to the equator. Although contemporary climate is not the only factor influencing species richness and may not explain the diversity pattern for all taxonomic groups, it is clear that understanding water-energy dynamics is critical to future biodiversity research. Analyses that do not include water-energy variables are missing a key component for explaining broad-scale patterns of diversity.

2,069 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, four groups of measures are distinguished, with a fundamental distinction arising between broad sense measures incorporating differences in composition attributable to species richness gradients, and narrow sense measures that focus on compositional differences independent of such gradients.
Abstract: Summary 1. Little consensus has been reached as to general features of spatial variation in beta diversity, a fundamental component of species diversity. This could reflect a genuine lack of simple gradients in beta diversity, or a lack of agreement as to just what constitutes beta diversity. Unfortunately, a large number of approaches have been applied to the investigation of variation in beta diversity, which potentially makes comparisons of the findings difficult. 2. We review 24 measures of beta diversity for presence/absence data (the most frequent form of data to which such measures are applied) that have been employed in the literature, express many of them for the first time in common terms, and compare some of their basic properties. 3. Four groups of measures are distinguished, with a fundamental distinction arising between ‘broad sense’ measures incorporating differences in composition attributable to species richness gradients, and ‘narrow sense’ measures that focus on compositional differences independent of such gradients. On a number of occasions on which the former have been employed in the literature the latter may have been more appropriate, and there are many situations in which consideration of both kinds of measures would be valuable. 4. We particularly recommend (i) considering beta diversity measures in terms of matching/mismatching components (usually denoted a , b and c ) and thereby identifying the contribution of different sources of variation in species composition, and (ii) the use of ternary plots to express the relationship between the values of these measures and of the components, and as a way of understanding patterns in beta diversity.

1,557 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Concentrations of retention solutes in uremia vary over a broad range, from nanograms per liter to grams per liter, and a substantial number of molecules are protein bound and/or middle molecules, and many of these exert toxicity and are characterized by a high range of toxic over normal concentration (CU/CN ratio).

1,404 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For example, a hump-shaped altitudinal species-richness pattern is the most typical (c. 50%), with a monotonic decreasing pattern also frequently reported, but the relative distribution of patterns changes readily with spatial grain and extent.
Abstract: Despite two centuries of exploration, our understanding of factors determining the distribution of life on Earth is in many ways still in its infancy. Much of the disagreement about governing processes of variation in species richness may be the result of differences in our perception of species-richness patterns. Until recently, most studies of large-scale species-richness patterns assumed implicitly that patterns and mechanisms were scale invariant. Illustrated with examples and a quantitative analysis of published data on altitudinal gradients of species richness (n = 204), this review discusses how scale effects (extent and grain size) can influence our perception of patterns and processes. For example, a hump-shaped altitudinal species-richness pattern is the most typical (c. 50%), with a monotonic decreasing pattern (c. 25%) also frequently reported, but the relative distribution of patterns changes readily with spatial grain and extent. If we are to attribute relative impact to various factors influencing species richness and distribution and to decide at which point along a spatial and temporal continuum they act, we should not ask only how results vary as a function of scale but also search for consistent patterns in these scale effects. The review concludes with suggestions of potential routes for future analytical exploration of species-richness patterns.

1,211 citations