Edaphic characteristics drive functional traits distribution in Amazonian floodplain forests

Gisele Biem Mori*, Lourens Poorter, Juliana Schietti, Maria Teresa Fernandez Piedade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding how environmental factors drive community assembly remains a major challenge in community ecology, especially in biodiverse tropical forests. We investigated how environmental filters affect functional trait distribution in two contrasting types of floodplain forest in the Brazilian Amazon: white-water forest (várzea) and black-water forest (igapó). We placed 40 plots of 625 m2 along a flooding gradient in Central Amazonia and measured for edaphic variables and 11 functional traits related to use of resources and flooding tolerance/avoidance. We assessed functional distribution by calculating community-trait mean values and trait kurtosis. Analysis of community mean trait values showed that nutrient-rich white-water forests favored trees with productive leaves and fast growth, whereas nutrient-poor black-water forests favored trees with nutrient conservation traits and slow growth. Functional diversity was not related to environmental gradients. Edaphic characteristics act, therefore, as a strong environmental filter leading to trait convergence in these floodplain tree communities.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Ecology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Central amazonia
  • Environmental gradients
  • Floodplains
  • Functional ecology
  • Tree communities
  • Tropical forests

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