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Microenvironment and functional-trait context dependence predict alpine plant community dynamics

Blonder, Benjamin ; Kapas, Rozalia E. ; Dalton, Rebecca M. ; Graae, Bente J. ; Heiling, Jacob M. and Opedal, Øystein H. LU (2018) In Journal of Ecology 106(4). p.1323-1337
Abstract

Predicting the structure and dynamics of communities is difficult. Approaches linking functional traits to niche boundaries, species co-occurrence and demography are promising, but have so far had limited success. We hypothesized that predictability in community ecology could be improved by incorporating more accurate measures of fine-scale environmental heterogeneity and the context-dependent function of traits. We tested these hypotheses using long term whole-community demography data from an alpine plant community in Colorado. Species distributions along microenvironmental gradients covaried with traits important for below-ground processes. Positive associations between species distributions across life stages could not be explained... (More)

Predicting the structure and dynamics of communities is difficult. Approaches linking functional traits to niche boundaries, species co-occurrence and demography are promising, but have so far had limited success. We hypothesized that predictability in community ecology could be improved by incorporating more accurate measures of fine-scale environmental heterogeneity and the context-dependent function of traits. We tested these hypotheses using long term whole-community demography data from an alpine plant community in Colorado. Species distributions along microenvironmental gradients covaried with traits important for below-ground processes. Positive associations between species distributions across life stages could not be explained by abiotic microenvironment alone, consistent with facilitative processes. Rates of growth, survival, fecundity and recruitment were predicted by the direct and interactive effects of trait, microenvironment, macroenvironment and neighbourhood axes. Synthesis. Context-dependent interactions between multiple traits and microenvironmental axes are needed to predict fine-scale community structure and dynamics.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
keywords
Below-ground processes, biotic interactions, demography, environmental filtering, facilitation, functional trait, interaction network, microclimate
in
Journal of Ecology
volume
106
issue
4
pages
1323 - 1337
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85048601588
ISSN
0022-0477
DOI
10.1111/1365-2745.12973
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
40cbaf94-38fe-4937-b6d7-e288db1ced59
date added to LUP
2020-02-04 08:41:54
date last changed
2020-04-07 05:42:58
@article{40cbaf94-38fe-4937-b6d7-e288db1ced59,
  abstract     = {<p>Predicting the structure and dynamics of communities is difficult. Approaches linking functional traits to niche boundaries, species co-occurrence and demography are promising, but have so far had limited success. We hypothesized that predictability in community ecology could be improved by incorporating more accurate measures of fine-scale environmental heterogeneity and the context-dependent function of traits. We tested these hypotheses using long term whole-community demography data from an alpine plant community in Colorado. Species distributions along microenvironmental gradients covaried with traits important for below-ground processes. Positive associations between species distributions across life stages could not be explained by abiotic microenvironment alone, consistent with facilitative processes. Rates of growth, survival, fecundity and recruitment were predicted by the direct and interactive effects of trait, microenvironment, macroenvironment and neighbourhood axes. Synthesis. Context-dependent interactions between multiple traits and microenvironmental axes are needed to predict fine-scale community structure and dynamics.</p>},
  author       = {Blonder, Benjamin and Kapas, Rozalia E. and Dalton, Rebecca M. and Graae, Bente J. and Heiling, Jacob M. and Opedal, Øystein H.},
  issn         = {0022-0477},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {07},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {1323--1337},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Ecology},
  title        = {Microenvironment and functional-trait context dependence predict alpine plant community dynamics},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12973},
  doi          = {10.1111/1365-2745.12973},
  volume       = {106},
  year         = {2018},
}