VCS Editors’ Award 2021 goes to Iwona Dembicz

15 July 2022

VCS Editors’ Award 2021 goes to Iwona Dembicz and colleagues for the paper “Fine-grain beta diversity in Palaearctic open vegetation: variability within and between biomes and vegetation types”. The publication was elected by the Chief Editors out of the four Editors’ Choice articles in the four quarters of 2021.

Analysing thousands of nested-plot datasets from the GrassPlot database, the authors asked whether small-scale beta diversity varies systematically between biomes and vegetation types. Using the exponent of power-law species-area relationships as a measure of beta diversity, they found that the explained variance increased from biomes via ecological-physiognomic vegetation types to phytosociological classes, and was higher in vascular plants than in bryophytes or lichens. Mediterranean and alpine grasslands turned out to be “hotspots” of fine-grain beta diversity. The authors also developed a conceptual model that is able to explain how a combination of different environmental and biological factors increases or decreases fine-grain beta diversity, offering the basis for concrete testing of hypotheses in the future.

Photo: Award-winner Iwona Dembicz during fieldwork in a Ukrainian salt steppe. Credit: J. Dengler.

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