Change Author / Owner : Exploring Tree-Habitat Associations in a Chinese Subtropical Forest Plot Using a Molecular Phylogeny Generated from DNA Barcode Loci
Elucidating the ecological mechanisms underlying community assembly in subtropical forests remains a central challenge for ecologists. The assembly of species into communities can be due to interspecific differences in habitat associations, and there is increasing evidence that these associations may have an underlying phylogenetic structure in contemporary terrestrial communities. In other words, by examining the degree to which closely related species prefer similar habitats and the degree to which they co-occur, ecologists are able to infer the mechanisms underlying community assembly. Here we implement this approach in a diverse subtropical tree community in China using a long-term forest dynamics plot and a molecular phylogeny generated from three DNA barcode loci. We find that there is phylogenetic signal in plant-habitat associations (i.e. closely related species tend to prefer similar habitats) and that patterns of co-occurrence within habitats are typically non-random with respect to phylogeny. In particular, we found phylogenetic clustering in valley and low-slope habitats in this forest, indicating a filtering of lineages plays a dominant role in structuring communities in these habitats and we found evidence of phylogenetic overdispersion in high-slope, ridge-top and high-gully habitats, indicating that distantly related species tended to co-occur in these high elevation habitats and that lineage filtering is less important in structuring these communities. Thus we infer that non-neutral niche-based processes acting upon evolutionarily conserved habitat preferences explain the assembly of local scale communities in the forest studied.
Citation : Pei, Nancai, Lian, Ju-Yu, Erickson, David L., Swenson, Nathan G., Kress, W. John, Ye, Wan-Hui and Ge, Xue-Jun. 2011. Exploring Tree-Habitat Associations in a Chinese Subtropical Forest Plot Using a Molecular Phylogeny Generated from DNA Barcode Loci. <i>Plos One<i>, 6(6): 1-9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021273
Object Type : Smithsonian staff publication
Object Type : Electronic document
See others in : Botany
Record ID : SILSRO_101367
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