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Biogeochemical and ecomorphological niche segregation of mediterranean woody species along a local gradient

AutorRiva, E. G. de la; Marañón, Teodoro ; Violle, Cyrille; Villar Montero, Rafael; Pérez-Ramos, Ignacio Manuel
Palabras claveCarbon isotope ratio
Functional ecology
Growth forms
Leaf habit
Fecha de publicación19-jul-2017
EditorFrontiers Media
CitaciónFrontiers in Plant Science (8): 1242 (2017)
ResumenAccording with niche theory the species are specialized in different ecological niches, being able to coexist as result of a differential use of resources. In this context, the biogeochemical niche hypothesis proposes that species have an optimal elemental composition which results from the link between the chemical and morphological traits for the optimum plant functioning. Thus, and attending to the limiting similarity concept, different elemental composition and plant structure among co-occurring species may reduce competition, promoting different functional niches. Different functional habits associated with leaf life-span or growth forms are associated with different strategies for resource uptake, which could promote niche partitioning. In the present study, based on the biogeochemical niche concept and the use of resources in different proportions, we have focused on leaf traits (morphological and chemical) associated with resource uptake, and explored the niche partitioning among functional habits: leaf life-span (deciduous, evergreen, and semideciduous) and growth (tree, shrub, and arborescent-shrub). To this end, we have quantified the hypervolume of the leaf functional trait space (both structure and chemical composition) in a sample of 45 Mediterranean woody species from Sierra Morena Mountains (Spain) growing along a local soil resource gradient. Our results show consistent variation in functional space for woody communities distributed along the environmental gradient. Thus, communities dominated by deciduous trees with faster growth and a predominant acquisitive strategy were characteristic of bottom forests and showed highest leaf biogeochemical space. While semideciduous shrubs and evergreen (arborescent, trees) species, characterized by a conservative strategy, dominated ridge forests and showed smaller functional space. In addition, within each topographical zone or environment type, the foliar biogeochemical niche partitioning would underlie the species ability to coexist by diverging on leaf nutrient composition and resource uptake. Lower niche overlap among functional habits were found, which support that different growth forms and leaf life-habits may facilitate the coexistence of the woody species and niche partitioning along and within the gradient
Descripción9 páginas.-- 5 figuras.-- 47 referencias.-- The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpls.2017.01242/full#supplementary-material
Versión del editorhttp://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.01242
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