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Composition and phylogenetic structure of Pampean Grasslands under distinct land use and presence of alien species
  • Neil Damas de Oliveira Junior,
  • Ecio Souza Diniz,
  • Rubem S. Avila Jr
Neil Damas de Oliveira Junior
Universidade Federal de Vi├žosa
Ecio Souza Diniz
Czech Academy of Sciences

Corresponding Author:eciodiniz@gmail.com

Author Profile
Rubem S. Avila Jr
Universidade Federal do Pampa

Abstract

Alien species can modify ecosystem functions and ecological processes in natural
communities, and potentially become invasive. In the Brazilian Pampean grasslands, reports
of changes in land use and invasions of alien plant species are becoming more frequent. This
study aimed to investigate species composition and phylogenetic relationships between native
and alien plants across four sites of Brazilian Pampean grasslands under distinct land uses
(NOM: no agricultural management; GRZ: grazed pastures; AGR: agrarian crops; ROAD:
roadside). The phylogenetic relationship between native and alien species was analyzed at two
scales: inter-site (large scale) and intra-site (small scale). We found inter-site differences in
phylogenetic diversity. Overall, across all sites we found random phylogenetic relationships
among alien and native species. In the most disturbed site (ROAD) we found significant
phylogenetic clustering among all species (alien and natives), while at the small scale,
clustering was only found among natives. We conclude that clustering of phylogenetic
relationships among alien and native species is only evident at small sampling scales in
environments subject to high levels of disturbance (i.e., road sides) in the studied Pampean
Grasslands, suggesting that environmental filtering plays an important role in local
community assembly.
Keywords: disturbance, land use, phylogenetic pattern, plant invasion, native communities