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By Christian Korner, Eva M. Spehn

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Jiménez, J. Golubov, and P. Koleff. 2007. Assessing completeness of biodiversity databases at different spatial scales. Ecography 30:152–60. , and J. Llorente. 1993. The use of species accumulation functions for the prediction of species richness. Conservation Biology 7:480–88. , J. Llorente, and H. Benítez. 1996. An international view of national biological surveys. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 83:562–73. , J. Llorente, and L. Oñate. 2000. The use of specimen label databases for conservation purposes: An example using Mexican Papilionid and Pierid butterflies.

Aside from the problem of correctly 33 depicting the exact altitude at which a particular database entry was collected, rare species are possibly influencing the results. In general floristic surveys, the source of most database records, rare species will tend to be collected on fewer occasions than common species. Nevertheless, there will be cases where botanists studying a particular genus will seek to collect rare species. Given these caveats, the true altitudinal and latitudinal ranges of rare species in geographical regions still at the phase of general exploration, as is the case in the high Andes, will tend to be underrepresented in relation to more common species.

30 The Senecio Database to Show Ecological Trends across the High Andes .................................................................. 37 THE ALPINE LIFE ZONE AS A TEMPLATE FOR TESTING BIOGEOGRAPHIC THEORY It is increasingly becoming recognized that the alpine life zone, defined as that vegetation occurring above the upper natural treeline on mountains (Körner, 2003), provides an impressive replicated, large-scale natural experiment, and thus an ideal system for studying macroecological patterns, and ecological and evolutionary processes.

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