Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities

Helge Bruelheide*, Jürgen Dengler, Oliver Purschke, Jonathan Lenoir, Borja Jiménez-Alfaro, Stephan M. Hennekens, Zoltán Botta-Dukát, Milan Chytrý, Richard Field, Florian Jansen, Jens Kattge, Valério D. Pillar, Franziska Schrodt, Miguel D. Mahecha, Robert K. Peet, Brody Sandel, Peter van Bodegom, Jan Altman, Esteban Alvarez-Dávila, Mohammed A.S. Arfin Khan & 30 others Fabio Attorre, Isabelle Aubin, Christopher Baraloto, Jorcely G. Barroso, Marijn Bauters, Erwin Bergmeier, Idoia Biurrun, Anne D. Bjorkman, Benjamin Blonder, Andraž Čarni, Luis Cayuela, Tomáš Černý, J.H.C. Cornelissen, Dylan Craven, Matteo Dainese, Géraldine Derroire, Michele De Sanctis, Sandra Díaz, Jiří Doležal, William Farfan-Rios, Ted R. Feldpausch, Nicole J. Fenton, Eric Garnier, Greg R. Guerin, Alvaro G. Gutiérrez, Sylvia Haider, Tarek Hattab, Greg Henry, Bruno Hérault, Wim A. Ozinga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key question is to what extent community-level trait composition is globally filtered and how well it is related to global versus local environmental drivers. Here, we perform a global, plot-level analysis of trait–environment relationships, using a database with more than 1.1 million vegetation plots and 26,632 plant species with trait information. Although we found a strong filtering of 17 functional traits, similar climate and soil conditions support communities differing greatly in mean trait values. The two main community trait axes that capture half of the global trait variation (plant stature and resource acquisitiveness) reflect the trade-offs at the species level but are weakly associated with climate and soil conditions at the global scale. Similarly, within-plot trait variation does not vary systematically with macro-environment. Our results indicate that, at fine spatial grain, macro-environmental drivers are much less important for functional trait composition than has been assumed from floristic analyses restricted to co-occurrence in large grid cells. Instead, trait combinations seem to be predominantly filtered by local-scale factors such as disturbance, fine-scale soil conditions, niche partitioning and biotic interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1906-1917
Number of pages12
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
Volume2
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2018

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plant community
plant communities
soil quality
climate conditions
climate
niche partitioning
ecosystem function
floristics
coexistence
niches
disturbance
vegetation
ecosystems
resource
soil condition
cells
analysis
plant species

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Bruelheide, Helge ; Dengler, Jürgen ; Purschke, Oliver ; Lenoir, Jonathan ; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja ; Hennekens, Stephan M. ; Botta-Dukát, Zoltán ; Chytrý, Milan ; Field, Richard ; Jansen, Florian ; Kattge, Jens ; Pillar, Valério D. ; Schrodt, Franziska ; Mahecha, Miguel D. ; Peet, Robert K. ; Sandel, Brody ; van Bodegom, Peter ; Altman, Jan ; Alvarez-Dávila, Esteban ; Arfin Khan, Mohammed A.S. ; Attorre, Fabio ; Aubin, Isabelle ; Baraloto, Christopher ; Barroso, Jorcely G. ; Bauters, Marijn ; Bergmeier, Erwin ; Biurrun, Idoia ; Bjorkman, Anne D. ; Blonder, Benjamin ; Čarni, Andraž ; Cayuela, Luis ; Černý, Tomáš ; Cornelissen, J.H.C. ; Craven, Dylan ; Dainese, Matteo ; Derroire, Géraldine ; De Sanctis, Michele ; Díaz, Sandra ; Doležal, Jiří ; Farfan-Rios, William ; Feldpausch, Ted R. ; Fenton, Nicole J. ; Garnier, Eric ; Guerin, Greg R. ; Gutiérrez, Alvaro G. ; Haider, Sylvia ; Hattab, Tarek ; Henry, Greg ; Hérault, Bruno ; Ozinga, Wim A. / Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities. In: Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2018 ; Vol. 2, No. 12. pp. 1906-1917.
@article{e3c8896209f7440f9d5563a201b6cd9f,
title = "Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities",
abstract = "Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key question is to what extent community-level trait composition is globally filtered and how well it is related to global versus local environmental drivers. Here, we perform a global, plot-level analysis of trait–environment relationships, using a database with more than 1.1 million vegetation plots and 26,632 plant species with trait information. Although we found a strong filtering of 17 functional traits, similar climate and soil conditions support communities differing greatly in mean trait values. The two main community trait axes that capture half of the global trait variation (plant stature and resource acquisitiveness) reflect the trade-offs at the species level but are weakly associated with climate and soil conditions at the global scale. Similarly, within-plot trait variation does not vary systematically with macro-environment. Our results indicate that, at fine spatial grain, macro-environmental drivers are much less important for functional trait composition than has been assumed from floristic analyses restricted to co-occurrence in large grid cells. Instead, trait combinations seem to be predominantly filtered by local-scale factors such as disturbance, fine-scale soil conditions, niche partitioning and biotic interactions.",
author = "Helge Bruelheide and J{\"u}rgen Dengler and Oliver Purschke and Jonathan Lenoir and Borja Jim{\'e}nez-Alfaro and Hennekens, {Stephan M.} and Zolt{\'a}n Botta-Duk{\'a}t and Milan Chytr{\'y} and Richard Field and Florian Jansen and Jens Kattge and Pillar, {Val{\'e}rio D.} and Franziska Schrodt and Mahecha, {Miguel D.} and Peet, {Robert K.} and Brody Sandel and {van Bodegom}, Peter and Jan Altman and Esteban Alvarez-D{\'a}vila and {Arfin Khan}, {Mohammed A.S.} and Fabio Attorre and Isabelle Aubin and Christopher Baraloto and Barroso, {Jorcely G.} and Marijn Bauters and Erwin Bergmeier and Idoia Biurrun and Bjorkman, {Anne D.} and Benjamin Blonder and Andraž Čarni and Luis Cayuela and Tom{\'a}š Čern{\'y} and J.H.C. Cornelissen and Dylan Craven and Matteo Dainese and G{\'e}raldine Derroire and {De Sanctis}, Michele and Sandra D{\'i}az and Jiř{\'i} Doležal and William Farfan-Rios and Feldpausch, {Ted R.} and Fenton, {Nicole J.} and Eric Garnier and Guerin, {Greg R.} and Guti{\'e}rrez, {Alvaro G.} and Sylvia Haider and Tarek Hattab and Greg Henry and Bruno H{\'e}rault and Ozinga, {Wim A.}",
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Bruelheide, H, Dengler, J, Purschke, O, Lenoir, J, Jiménez-Alfaro, B, Hennekens, SM, Botta-Dukát, Z, Chytrý, M, Field, R, Jansen, F, Kattge, J, Pillar, VD, Schrodt, F, Mahecha, MD, Peet, RK, Sandel, B, van Bodegom, P, Altman, J, Alvarez-Dávila, E, Arfin Khan, MAS, Attorre, F, Aubin, I, Baraloto, C, Barroso, JG, Bauters, M, Bergmeier, E, Biurrun, I, Bjorkman, AD, Blonder, B, Čarni, A, Cayuela, L, Černý, T, Cornelissen, JHC, Craven, D, Dainese, M, Derroire, G, De Sanctis, M, Díaz, S, Doležal, J, Farfan-Rios, W, Feldpausch, TR, Fenton, NJ, Garnier, E, Guerin, GR, Gutiérrez, AG, Haider, S, Hattab, T, Henry, G, Hérault, B & Ozinga, WA 2018, 'Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities', Nature Ecology and Evolution, vol. 2, no. 12, pp. 1906-1917. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8

Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities. / Bruelheide, Helge; Dengler, Jürgen; Purschke, Oliver; Lenoir, Jonathan; Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja; Hennekens, Stephan M.; Botta-Dukát, Zoltán; Chytrý, Milan; Field, Richard; Jansen, Florian; Kattge, Jens; Pillar, Valério D.; Schrodt, Franziska; Mahecha, Miguel D.; Peet, Robert K.; Sandel, Brody; van Bodegom, Peter; Altman, Jan; Alvarez-Dávila, Esteban; Arfin Khan, Mohammed A.S.; Attorre, Fabio; Aubin, Isabelle; Baraloto, Christopher; Barroso, Jorcely G.; Bauters, Marijn; Bergmeier, Erwin; Biurrun, Idoia; Bjorkman, Anne D.; Blonder, Benjamin; Čarni, Andraž; Cayuela, Luis; Černý, Tomáš; Cornelissen, J.H.C.; Craven, Dylan; Dainese, Matteo; Derroire, Géraldine; De Sanctis, Michele; Díaz, Sandra; Doležal, Jiří; Farfan-Rios, William; Feldpausch, Ted R.; Fenton, Nicole J.; Garnier, Eric; Guerin, Greg R.; Gutiérrez, Alvaro G.; Haider, Sylvia; Hattab, Tarek; Henry, Greg; Hérault, Bruno; Ozinga, Wim A.

In: Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 2, No. 12, 19.11.2018, p. 1906-1917.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities

AU - Bruelheide, Helge

AU - Dengler, Jürgen

AU - Purschke, Oliver

AU - Lenoir, Jonathan

AU - Jiménez-Alfaro, Borja

AU - Hennekens, Stephan M.

AU - Botta-Dukát, Zoltán

AU - Chytrý, Milan

AU - Field, Richard

AU - Jansen, Florian

AU - Kattge, Jens

AU - Pillar, Valério D.

AU - Schrodt, Franziska

AU - Mahecha, Miguel D.

AU - Peet, Robert K.

AU - Sandel, Brody

AU - van Bodegom, Peter

AU - Altman, Jan

AU - Alvarez-Dávila, Esteban

AU - Arfin Khan, Mohammed A.S.

AU - Attorre, Fabio

AU - Aubin, Isabelle

AU - Baraloto, Christopher

AU - Barroso, Jorcely G.

AU - Bauters, Marijn

AU - Bergmeier, Erwin

AU - Biurrun, Idoia

AU - Bjorkman, Anne D.

AU - Blonder, Benjamin

AU - Čarni, Andraž

AU - Cayuela, Luis

AU - Černý, Tomáš

AU - Cornelissen, J.H.C.

AU - Craven, Dylan

AU - Dainese, Matteo

AU - Derroire, Géraldine

AU - De Sanctis, Michele

AU - Díaz, Sandra

AU - Doležal, Jiří

AU - Farfan-Rios, William

AU - Feldpausch, Ted R.

AU - Fenton, Nicole J.

AU - Garnier, Eric

AU - Guerin, Greg R.

AU - Gutiérrez, Alvaro G.

AU - Haider, Sylvia

AU - Hattab, Tarek

AU - Henry, Greg

AU - Hérault, Bruno

AU - Ozinga, Wim A.

PY - 2018/11/19

Y1 - 2018/11/19

N2 - Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key question is to what extent community-level trait composition is globally filtered and how well it is related to global versus local environmental drivers. Here, we perform a global, plot-level analysis of trait–environment relationships, using a database with more than 1.1 million vegetation plots and 26,632 plant species with trait information. Although we found a strong filtering of 17 functional traits, similar climate and soil conditions support communities differing greatly in mean trait values. The two main community trait axes that capture half of the global trait variation (plant stature and resource acquisitiveness) reflect the trade-offs at the species level but are weakly associated with climate and soil conditions at the global scale. Similarly, within-plot trait variation does not vary systematically with macro-environment. Our results indicate that, at fine spatial grain, macro-environmental drivers are much less important for functional trait composition than has been assumed from floristic analyses restricted to co-occurrence in large grid cells. Instead, trait combinations seem to be predominantly filtered by local-scale factors such as disturbance, fine-scale soil conditions, niche partitioning and biotic interactions.

AB - Plant functional traits directly affect ecosystem functions. At the species level, trait combinations depend on trade-offs representing different ecological strategies, but at the community level trait combinations are expected to be decoupled from these trade-offs because different strategies can facilitate co-existence within communities. A key question is to what extent community-level trait composition is globally filtered and how well it is related to global versus local environmental drivers. Here, we perform a global, plot-level analysis of trait–environment relationships, using a database with more than 1.1 million vegetation plots and 26,632 plant species with trait information. Although we found a strong filtering of 17 functional traits, similar climate and soil conditions support communities differing greatly in mean trait values. The two main community trait axes that capture half of the global trait variation (plant stature and resource acquisitiveness) reflect the trade-offs at the species level but are weakly associated with climate and soil conditions at the global scale. Similarly, within-plot trait variation does not vary systematically with macro-environment. Our results indicate that, at fine spatial grain, macro-environmental drivers are much less important for functional trait composition than has been assumed from floristic analyses restricted to co-occurrence in large grid cells. Instead, trait combinations seem to be predominantly filtered by local-scale factors such as disturbance, fine-scale soil conditions, niche partitioning and biotic interactions.

U2 - 10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8

DO - 10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8

M3 - Article

VL - 2

SP - 1906

EP - 1917

JO - Nature Ecology & Evolution

JF - Nature Ecology & Evolution

SN - 2397-334X

IS - 12

ER -

Bruelheide H, Dengler J, Purschke O, Lenoir J, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Hennekens SM et al. Global trait–environment relationships of plant communities. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2018 Nov 19;2(12):1906-1917. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0699-8