Less lineages - more trait variation: phylogenetically clustered plant communities are functionally more diverse

A. Prinzing, R.C. Reiffers, W.G. Braakhekke, S.M. Hennekens, O. Tackenberg, W.A. Ozinga, J.H.J. Schaminée, J.M. van Groenendael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Functional diversity within communities may influence ecosystem functioning, but which factors drive functional diversity? We hypothesize that communities assembled from many phylogenetic lineages show large functional diversity if assembly is random, but low functional diversity if assembly is controlled by interactions between species within lineages. We combined > 9000 descriptions of Dutch plant communities, a species-level phylogeny, and information on 16 functional traits (including eight dispersal traits). We found that all traits were conserved within lineages, but nevertheless communities assembled from many lineages showed a smaller variation in trait-states of most traits (including dispersal traits) than communities assembled from few lineages. Hence, within lineages, species are not randomly assembled into communities, contradicting Neutral Theory. In fact, we find evidence for evolutionary divergence in trait-states as well as present-day mutual exclusion among related, similar species, suggesting that functional diversity of communities increased due to past and present interactions between species within lineages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-819
JournalEcology Letters
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • environmental-conditions
  • niche
  • evolution
  • similarity
  • phylogeny
  • grassland
  • depends
  • signal
  • scale

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