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The role of seed traits in determining the phylogenetic structure of temperate plant communities

AuthorsVandelook, Filip; Verdú, Miguel ; Honnay, Olivier
KeywordsCalcareous grassland
Dune slacks
Embryo size
Habitat filtering
Phylogenetic structure
Plant community structure
Seed mass
Temperate forest
Issue DateAug-2012
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationAnnals of Botany 110(3): 629-636 (2012)
AbstractPhylogenetic clustering of species within plant communities can be expected to result from environmental filtering acting on an evolutionary-conserved plant trait. One such a candidate trait is the embryo to seed-size ratio (E:S). A high E:S may allow faster germination immediately after imbibition, and is therefore assumed to be advantageous in dry habitats. In this study the hypothesis was tested that habitat filtering driven by soil moisture conditions and acting on seed germination and seedling establishment is an important ecological mechanism in structuring temperate plant communities. Vegetation samplings were performed in three habitats located within 200 km of each other in western Europe: Ellenberg indicator values showed that the habitats selected differed substantially in terms of soil moisture and light availability. E.S ratio and seed mass data for all genera were obtained from literature. Data were analysed using recently developed phylogenetic methods. Genera with a similar E:S tend to co-occur, as low and high E:S genera dominate in moist and dry habitats, respectively. A phylogenetically clustered pattern of community structure was evident, and dispersion of E:S was positively related to phylogenetic dispersion. The phenotypically and phylogenetically clustered pattern indicates that E:S-mediated habitat filtering is an important assembly process structuring the plant community of the temperate climate habitats studied.
Description8 páginas, 2 figuras, 3 tablas.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcs121
Appears in Collections:(CIDE) Artículos
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