loading page

“Realistic strategies” and neutral processes drive the community assembly based on leaf functional traits in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest
  • +8
  • Lijuan Zhao,
  • Wenhua Xiang,
  • Jiaxiang Li,
  • Wenqian Liu,
  • Yanting Hu,
  • Huili Wu,
  • Yiling Zhang,
  • Xing Cheng,
  • Weijia Wang,
  • Wentao Wang,
  • Shuai Ouyang
Lijuan Zhao
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Wenhua Xiang
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Jiaxiang Li
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Wenqian Liu
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Yanting Hu
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Huili Wu
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Yiling Zhang
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Xing Cheng
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Weijia Wang
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Wentao Wang
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile
Shuai Ouyang
Central South University of Forestry and Technology
Author Profile

Abstract

We sought to assess effect of plant environmental adaptation strategies and evolutionary history and quantify the contribution of ecological processes to community assembly by measuring functional traits and phylogenetic composition in local forest community. We selected 18 dominant tree species in a Lithocarpus glaber–Cyclobalanopsis glauca evergreen broad-leaved forest and measured nine leaf functional traits and phylogenetic data of each species. We analyzed the variation in traits and trade-off relationships, tested phylogenetic effects on leaf functional traits, explored the influence of phylogeny and environment on leaf functional traits, and distinguished the relative effects of spatial and environmental variables on functional traits and phylogenetic compositions. The results showed the following: (i) Leaf traits had moderate intraspecific variation, and significant interspecific variation existed especially among life forms. (ii) Significant phylogenetic signals were detected only in leaf thickness and leaf area. The correlations among traits both supported “the leaf economics spectrum” at the species and community levels, and the relationships significantly increased or only a little change after removing the influence of phylogeny, which showed a lack of consistency between the leaf functional trait patterns and phylogenetic patterns. We infer the coexistent species tended to adopt “realism” to adapt to their habitats. (iii) Soil total potassium and phosphorus content, altitude, aspect, and convexity were the most critical environmental factors affecting functional traits and phylogenetic composition. Total environmental and spatial variables explained 63.38% of the variation in functional trait composition and 47.96% of the variation in phylogenetic structures. Meanwhile, the contribution of pure spatial factors was significantly higher than that of the pure environment. Neutral- theory-based stochastic processes played dominant roles in driving community functional trait assembly, but niche-theory-based determinative processes such as environmental filtering had a stronger effect on shaping community phylogenetic structure at a fine scale.
11 Jun 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
15 Jun 2022Assigned to Editor
15 Jun 2022Submission Checks Completed
20 Jun 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
29 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Aug 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor