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Changes in co-existence mechanisms along a long-term soil chronosequence revealed by functional trait diversity

Mason, Norm and Richardson, Sarah and Peltzer, Duane and De Bello, Frank and Wardle, David A. and Allen, Rob (2012). Changes in co-existence mechanisms along a long-term soil chronosequence revealed by functional trait diversity. Journal of ecology. 100:3, 678-689
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.111 1 /j.1365 - 2745.2012.01...

Abstract

1. Functional trait diversity can reveal mechanisms of species co-existence in plant communities. Few studies have tested whether functional diversity for foliar traits related to resource use strategy increases or decreases with declining soil phosphorus (P) in forest communities.
2. We quantified tree basal area and four foliar functional traits (i.e. nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), thickness and tissue density) for all woody species along the c. 120 kyr Franz Josef soil chronosequence in cool temperate rainforest, where strong shifts occur in light and soil nutrient availability (i.e. total soil P declines from 805 to 100 mg g–1). We combined the abundance and trait data in functional diversity indices to quantify trait convergence and divergence, in an effort to determine whether mechanisms of co-existence change with soil fertility.
3. Relationships between species trait means and total soil N and P were examined using multiple regression, with and without weighting of species abundances. We used Rao’s quadratic entropy to quantify functional diversity at the plot scale, then compared this with random expectation, using a null model that randomizes abundances across species within plots. Taxonomic diversity was measured using Simpson’s Diversity. Relationships between functional and taxonomic diversity and total soil P were examined using jackknife linear regression.
4. Leaf N and P declined and leaf thickness and density increased monotonically with declining total soil P along the sequence; these relationships were unaffected by abundance-weighting of species in the analyses. Inclusion of total soil N did not improve predictions of trait means. All measures of diversity calculated from presence/absence data were unrelated to total soil N and P. There was no evidence for a relationship between Rao values using quantitative abundances and total soil P. However, there was a strongly positive relationship between Rao, expressed relative to random expectation, and total soil P, indicating trait convergence of dominant species as soil P declined.
5. Synthesis: Our results demonstrate that at high fertility dominant species differ in resource use strategy, but as soil fertility declines over the long-term, dominant species increasingly converge on a resource-retentive strategy. This suggests that differentiation in resource use strategy is required for co-existence at high fertility but not in low fertility ecosystems.

Authors/Creators:Mason, Norm and Richardson, Sarah and Peltzer, Duane and De Bello, Frank and Wardle, David A. and Allen, Rob
Title:Changes in co-existence mechanisms along a long-term soil chronosequence revealed by functional trait diversity
Series/Journal:Journal of ecology (1365-2745)
Year of publishing :2012
Volume:100
Number:3
Page range:678-689
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:1365-2745
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Accepted version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:K Forestry > K01 Forestry - General aspects
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 401 Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries > Forest Science
Keywords:functional traits, succession
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-885
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-885
ID Code:9449
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: Professor David Wardle
Deposited On:27 Feb 2013 14:37
Metadata Last Modified:06 Feb 2016 16:34

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