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Ecol Lett ; 22(9): 1472-1482, 2019 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31270929


Plant diversity fosters productivity in natural ecosystems. Biodiversity effects might increase agricultural yields at no cost in additional inputs. However, the effects of diversity on crop assemblages are inconsistent, probably because crops and wild plants differ in a range of traits relevant to plant-plant interactions. We tested whether domestication has changed the potential of crop mixtures to over-yield by comparing the performance and traits of major crop species and those of their wild progenitors under varying levels of diversity. We found stronger biodiversity effects in mixtures of wild progenitors, due to larger selection effects. Variation in selection effects was partly explained by within-mixture differences in leaf size. Our results indicate that domestication might disrupt the ability of crops to benefit from diverse neighbourhoods via reduced trait variance. These results highlight potential limitations of current crop mixtures to over-yield and the potential of breeding to re-establish variance and increase mixture performance.

Biodiversidade , Produtos Agrícolas/genética , Domesticação , Produtos Agrícolas/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Fenótipo , Melhoramento Vegetal
Mol Ecol Resour ; 19(5): 1265-1277, 2019 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31232514


Most work on plant community ecology has been performed above ground, neglecting the processes that occur in the soil. DNA metabarcoding, in which multiple species are computationally identified in bulk samples, can help to overcome the logistical limitations involved in sampling plant communities belowground. However, a major limitation of this methodology is the quantification of species' abundances based on the percentage of sequences assigned to each taxon. Using root tissues of five dominant species in a semi-arid Mediterranean shrubland (Bupleurum fruticescens, Helianthemum cinereum, Linum suffruticosum, Stipa pennata and Thymus vulgaris), we built pairwise mixtures of relative abundance (20%, 50% and 80% biomass), and implemented two methods (linear model fits and correction indices) to improve estimates of root biomass. We validated both methods with multispecies mixtures that simulate field-collected samples. For all species, we found a positive and highly significant relationship between the percentage of sequences and biomass in the mixtures (R2  = .44-.66), but the equations for each species (slope and intercept) differed among them, and two species were consistently over- and under-estimated. The correction indices greatly improved the estimates of biomass percentage for all five species in the multispecies mixtures, and reduced the overall error from 17% to 6%. Our results show that, through the use of post-sequencing quantification methods on mock communities, DNA metabarcoding can be effectively used to determine not only species' presence but also their relative abundance in field samples of root mixtures. Importantly, knowledge of these aspects will allow us to study key, yet poorly understood, belowground processes.

Biota , Código de Barras de DNA Taxonômico/métodos , Metagenômica/métodos , Plantas/classificação , Plantas/genética , DNA de Plantas/genética , Raízes de Plantas/classificação , Raízes de Plantas/genética
Nat Ecol Evol ; 2(11): 1808-1817, 2018 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30349093


The origins of agriculture were key events in human history, during which people came to depend for their food on small numbers of animal and plant species. However, the biological traits determining which species were domesticated for food provision, and which were not, are unclear. Here, we investigate the phylogenetic distribution of livestock and crops, and compare their phenotypic traits with those of wild species. Our results indicate that phylogenetic clustering is modest for crop species but more intense for livestock. Domesticated species explore a reduced portion of the phenotypic space occupied by their wild counterparts and have particular traits in common. For example, herbaceous crops are globally characterized by traits including high leaf nitrogen concentration and tall canopies, which make them fast-growing species and proficient competitors. Livestock species are relatively large mammals with low basal metabolic rates, which indicate moderate to slow life histories. Our study therefore reveals ecological differences in domestication potential between plants and mammals. Domesticated plants belong to clades with traits that are advantageous in intensively managed high-resource habitats, whereas domesticated mammals are from clades adapted to moderately productive environments. Combining comparative phylogenetic methods with ecologically relevant traits has proven useful to unravel the causes and consequences of domestication.

Animais Domésticos/genética , Evolução Biológica , Produtos Agrícolas/genética , Domesticação , Animais , Animais Domésticos/classificação , Produtos Agrícolas/classificação , Fenótipo , Filogenia
Oecologia ; 180(4): 975-87, 2016 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26820565


Evaluating community assembly through the use of functional traits is a promising tool for testing predictions arising from Niche and Coexistence theories. Although interactions among neighboring species and their inter-specific differences are known drivers of coexistence with a strong spatial signal, assessing the role of individual species on the functional structure of the community at different spatial scales remains a challenge. Here, we ask whether individual species exert a measurable effect on the spatial organization of different functional traits in local assemblages. We first propose and compute two functions that describe different aspects of functional trait organization around individual species at multiple scales: individual weighted mean area relationship and individual functional diversity area relationship. Secondly, we develop a conceptual model on the relationship and simultaneous variation of these two metrics, providing five alternative scenarios in response to the ability of some target species to modify its neighbor environment and the possible assembly mechanisms involved. Our results show that some species influence the spatial structure of specific functional traits, but their effects were always restricted to the finest spatial scales. In the basis of our conceptual model, the observed patterns point to two main mechanisms driving the functional structure of the community at the fine scale, "biotic" filtering meditated by individual species and resource partitioning driven by indirect facilitation rather than by competitive mechanisms.

Meio Ambiente , Modelos Biológicos , Fenômenos Fisiológicos Vegetais , Biodiversidade , Fenótipo
New Phytol ; 204(1): 140-8, 2014 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24954264


Two-phase plant communities with an engineer conforming conspicuous patches and affecting the performance and patterns of coexisting species are the norm under stressful conditions. To unveil the mechanisms governing coexistence in these communities at multiple spatial scales, we have developed a new point-raster approach of spatial pattern analysis, which was applied to a Mediterranean high mountain grassland to show how Festuca curvifolia patches affect the local distribution of coexisting species. We recorded 22 111 individuals of 17 plant perennial species. Most coexisting species were negatively associated with F. curvifolia clumps. Nevertheless, bivariate nearest-neighbor analyses revealed that the majority of coexisting species were confined at relatively short distances from F. curvifolia borders (between 0-2 cm and up to 8 cm in some cases). Our study suggests the existence of a fine-scale effect of F. curvifolia for most species promoting coexistence through a mechanism we call 'facilitation in the halo'. Most coexisting species are displaced to an interphase area between patches, where two opposite forces reach equilibrium: attenuated severe conditions by proximity to the F. curvifolia canopy (nutrient-rich islands) and competitive exclusion mitigated by avoiding direct contact with F. curvifolia.

Ecossistema , Festuca/fisiologia , Fenômenos Fisiológicos Vegetais , Biodiversidade , Região do Mediterrâneo , Espanha , Análise Espacial