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Exploring tree-habitat associations in a Chinese subtropical forest plot using a molecular phylogeny generated from DNA barcode loci.

Pei N, Lian JY, Erickson DL, Swenson NG, Kress WJ, Ye WH, Ge XJ - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: 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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Plant Resource Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.

ABSTRACT
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.

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The spatial distribution of the five habitat types in the 20-ha Dinghushan plot.Colors represent different habitat types at the spatial scale of 20 m×20 m.
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pone-0021273-g002: The spatial distribution of the five habitat types in the 20-ha Dinghushan plot.Colors represent different habitat types at the spatial scale of 20 m×20 m.

Mentions: Five habitat types in the DHS FDP were classified using the topographic variables slope, elevation and convexity [28], [29]. In particular, habitats were classified using a quantitative method where the observed slope and elevation was compared to the plot median value. The specific classification scheme is given in Table 2. The quantitative classification of habitat types allows for them to be ordered by similarity, as valley (V), low-slope (LS), high-gully (HG), ridge-top (RT) and high-slope (HS). A habitat type was assigned to each given 20×20 m quadrat in the DHS FDP. Topographical variations in the DHS FDP are larger than that of the BCI forest plot in Panama (Table 2, and Fig. 2). Thus it is difficult to compare the habitat types of the two plots. The majority of the analyses were conducted by dividing the 20-ha plot into 500 20 m×20 m quadrats. Two additional spatial scales were used, specifically 40 m×40 m and 100 m×100 m. In sum, five habitat types and three spatial scales were used to quantify the community phylogenetic structure in the DHS FDP.


Exploring tree-habitat associations in a Chinese subtropical forest plot using a molecular phylogeny generated from DNA barcode loci.

Pei N, Lian JY, Erickson DL, Swenson NG, Kress WJ, Ye WH, Ge XJ - PLoS ONE (2011)

The spatial distribution of the five habitat types in the 20-ha Dinghushan plot.Colors represent different habitat types at the spatial scale of 20 m×20 m.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3119057&req=5

pone-0021273-g002: The spatial distribution of the five habitat types in the 20-ha Dinghushan plot.Colors represent different habitat types at the spatial scale of 20 m×20 m.
Mentions: Five habitat types in the DHS FDP were classified using the topographic variables slope, elevation and convexity [28], [29]. In particular, habitats were classified using a quantitative method where the observed slope and elevation was compared to the plot median value. The specific classification scheme is given in Table 2. The quantitative classification of habitat types allows for them to be ordered by similarity, as valley (V), low-slope (LS), high-gully (HG), ridge-top (RT) and high-slope (HS). A habitat type was assigned to each given 20×20 m quadrat in the DHS FDP. Topographical variations in the DHS FDP are larger than that of the BCI forest plot in Panama (Table 2, and Fig. 2). Thus it is difficult to compare the habitat types of the two plots. The majority of the analyses were conducted by dividing the 20-ha plot into 500 20 m×20 m quadrats. Two additional spatial scales were used, specifically 40 m×40 m and 100 m×100 m. In sum, five habitat types and three spatial scales were used to quantify the community phylogenetic structure in the DHS FDP.

Bottom Line: 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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Plant Resource Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.

ABSTRACT
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.

Show MeSH