Plant Hybrid Zones as Centers of Biodiversity
Plant hybrid zones have been posited to be areas of elevated biodiversity. Support for this hypothesis, however, has been limited to a handful of cases involving insect and fungal species and to two studies involving higher trophic levels. We provided an additional test of this hypothesis for higher trophic levels by examining the community structure of birds and reptiles associated with the Quercus grisea × Quercus gambelii species complex in the San Mateo and Magdalena mountain ranges of central New Mexico. Specifically, we compared patterns of species richness and abundance of these taxa in 10 hybrid zones and 11 contact zones (i.e., zones where both parental species occur but hybrids do not). The results of this study were published in Biodiversity and Conservation (PDF).