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The ecological causes of functional distinctiveness in communities
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  • François Munoz,
  • Christopher Klausmeier,
  • Pierre Gaüzère,
  • Gaurav Kandlikar,
  • Elena Litchman,
  • Nicolas Mouquet,
  • Annette Ostling,
  • Wilfried Thuiller,
  • Adam Algar,
  • Arnaud Auber,
  • Marc Cadotte,
  • Leo Delalandre,
  • Pierre Denelle,
  • Brian Enquist,
  • Claire Fortunel,
  • Matthias Grenié,
  • Nicolas Loiseau,
  • Lucie Mahaut,
  • Anthony Maire,
  • David Mouillot,
  • Cyrille Violle,
  • Nathan Kraft
François Munoz
Université Grenoble Alpes

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Christopher Klausmeier
Michigan State University
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Pierre Gaüzère
Université Montpellier, CNRS, IRD
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Gaurav Kandlikar
University of Missouri
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Elena Litchman
Michigan State University
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Nicolas Mouquet
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Annette Ostling
The University of Texas at Austin
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Wilfried Thuiller
Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine
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Adam Algar
University of Nottingham
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Arnaud Auber
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Marc Cadotte
University of Toronto Scarborough
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Leo Delalandre
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
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Pierre Denelle
Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen
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Brian Enquist
University of Arizona
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Claire Fortunel
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Matthias Grenié
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
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Nicolas Loiseau
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Lucie Mahaut
Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
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Anthony Maire
Electricite de France SA
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David Mouillot
Université Montpellier-CNRS-IFREMER
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Cyrille Violle
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Nathan Kraft
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Although how rare species persist in communities is a major ecological question, the critical phenotypic dimension of rarity is broadly overlooked. Recent work has shown that evaluating functional distinctiveness, the average trait distance of a species to other species in a community, offers essential insights into biodiversity dynamics, ecosystem functioning, and biological conservation. However, the ecological mechanisms underlying the persistence of functionally distinct species are poorly understood. Here we propose a heterogeneous fitness landscape framework, whereby functional dimensions encompass peaks representing trait combinations that yield positive intrinsic growth rates in a community. We identify four fundamental causes leading to the persistence of functionally distinct species in a community. First, environmental heterogeneity or alternative phenotypic designs can drive positive population growth of functionally distinct species. Second, sink populations with negative growth can deviate from local fitness peaks and be functionally distinct. Third, species found at the margin of the fitness landscape can persist but be functionally distinct. Fourth, biotic interactions (either positive or negative) can dynamically alter the fitness landscape. We offer examples of these four cases and some guidelines to distinguish among them. In addition to these deterministic processes, we also explore how stochastic dispersal limitation can yield functional distinctiveness.
03 Oct 2022Submitted to Ecology Letters
04 Oct 2022Assigned to Editor
04 Oct 2022Submission Checks Completed
06 Oct 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Nov 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Nov 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Major
31 Jan 20231st Revision Received
31 Jan 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Jan 2023Submission Checks Completed
31 Jan 2023Assigned to Editor
31 Jan 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
07 Mar 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
17 Apr 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
17 Apr 20232nd Revision Received
18 Apr 2023Submission Checks Completed
18 Apr 2023Assigned to Editor
21 Apr 2023Editorial Decision: Accept