Phylogenetic community structure during succession: evidence from three Neotropical forest sites

S.G. Letcher, R.L. Chazdon, A. Andrade, F. Bongers, M. van Breugel, B. Finegan, S.G. Laurance, R. Mesquita, M. Martinez-Ramos, G.B. Williamson

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66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The phylogenetic structure of communities can reveal forces shaping community assembly, but the vast majority of work on phylogenetic community structure has been conducted in mature ecosystems. Here, we present an analysis of the phylogenetic structure of three Neotropical rain forest communities undergoing succession. In each site, the net relatedness of the community is initially high and consistently declines during succession. This pattern is evident both when comparing plots of different age classes and when comparing stem size classes within each plot: the oldest plots and the youngest stem cohorts, representing the most advanced stages of succession, have the lowest relatedness. Our results suggest that succession leaves a distinct signature in the phylogenetic structure of communities, which may reflect an increasing role of biotic interactions in community assembly during succession. We discuss theoretical explanations for the decline in community phylogenetic relatedness during succession, and suggest directions for future study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
JournalPerspectives in plant ecology, evolution and systematics
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • dependent seedling mortality
  • bornean rain-forest
  • tropical forest
  • tree community
  • density
  • diversity
  • ecology
  • growth
  • size
  • disturbances

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    Letcher, S. G., Chazdon, R. L., Andrade, A., Bongers, F., van Breugel, M., Finegan, B., Laurance, S. G., Mesquita, R., Martinez-Ramos, M., & Williamson, G. B. (2012). Phylogenetic community structure during succession: evidence from three Neotropical forest sites. Perspectives in plant ecology, evolution and systematics, 14(2), 79-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2011.09.005