Some controversy has existed concerning the relative levels of bryophyte species diversity in tropical and temperate areas. In this study global diversity patterns of pleurocarpous moss species are investigated by means of Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling ordination based on checklists from 78 countries or other geographical areas spread over all the inhabitable parts of the world. By far, most of the diversity occurs outside the Holarctic area (excluding most of temperate eastern Asia), and especially the tropics have a very diverse pleurocarpous moss flora. Although earlier studies have shown that bryophyte alpha diversity is similar or almost similar in tropical and temperate areas, species turnover among pleurocarps is higher among areas within regions and especially among continents in the tropical rather than in the temperate zone. These results underline the priority of tropical areas for both research and globally sound conservation measures.
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