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1.
Sci Total Environ ; 698: 133960, 2020 Jan 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31493573

RESUMO

Disentangling the processes that drive plant community assembly is critical for understanding the patterns of plant diversity. We studied how different abiotic and biotic factors shape the interplay between the facets of alpine plant diversity, functional (FD), phylogenetic (PD) and taxonomic diversity (TD), in three different mountain ranges with contrasting evolutionary histories and climate conditions (Pyrenees and Mediterranean-type mountains in central Spain and Chilean Andes). We hypothesized that the causal links vary in strength and sign across regions. We used species inventories, functional trait data, and a phylogeny from 84 plant communities spread throughout three high-mountain alpine grasslands. Structural equation models were used to test our causal hypotheses on the relationships observed between the three diversity facets, and the abiotic (elevation, potential solar radiation and soil total nitrogen) and biotic factors (C-score). Despite our causal model presented a high variability in each mountain range, TD always decreased with increasing elevation (sum of direct and indirect effects). We also found some patterns suggesting that assembly processes could be climatically/biogeographically structured such as the negative relationship between FD and elevation found in Mediterranean mountains and the negative relationship between FD and TD found in both Spanish mountain ranges (independently of their different climates). A remarkable finding of this study is that ecological factors such as soil total nitrogen and elevation indirectly alter the relationships between the diversity facets. Our results suggest that diversity facets are simultaneously affected by different ecological and biogeographical/evolutionary processes, resulting in some general trends but also in parallel idiosyncratic patterns. Our findings highlight that although FD stand out by its explanatory power of community processes, TD and PD provide a complementary and necessary view that should not be disregarded in the attempt to globally explain community assembly processes.


Assuntos
Biodiversidade , Clima , Filogenia , Altitude , Chile , Mudança Climática , Ecologia , Monitoramento Ambiental , Plantas , Solo , Espanha
2.
Data Brief ; 27: 104816, 2019 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31788524

RESUMO

Vegetation above treeline constitutes one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate warming and other drivers of Global Change. Given the panorama of such an uncertain future facing these plant communities, it is critical to know how they respond to environmental changes and improve the knowledge on the potential impacts of climate change on their distribution. Recently, with the impressive development of trait-based approaches, relevant progress has been made to better understand the relationships between environmental conditions and plant communities. In this data paper, we describe data on abundances of 327 alpine plant species across 430 subplots of 2.4 m × 2.4 m in three mountain ranges (Sierra de Guadarrama and Pyrenees in Spain, and the Central Andes in Chile). We provide data on different environmental variables that represent variation in abiotic conditions and operate at different spatial scales (e.g., climatic, topographic and soil conditions). Data on six plant functional traits are also shown, which were measured on ten individuals of each species, following standard protocols. We provided the dataset as tables in the supplementary material. This information could be used to analyse the relationship between the alpine vegetation and changes in environmental conditions, and ultimately, to understand ecosystem functioning and guide conservation strategies of theses threatened and valuable ecosystems.

3.
Mol Ecol Resour ; 19(5): 1265-1277, 2019 Sep.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31232514

RESUMO

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.


Assuntos
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
4.
PLoS One ; 13(7): e0200216, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29979767

RESUMO

Mountains are considered excellent natural laboratories for studying the determinants of plant diversity at contrasting spatial scales. To gain insights into how plant diversity is structured at different spatial scales, we surveyed high mountain plant communities in the Chilean Andes where man-driven perturbations are rare. This was done along elevational gradients located at different latitudes taking into account factors that act at fine scales, including abiotic (potential solar radiation and soil quality) and biotic (species interactions) factors, and considering multiple spatial scales. Species richness, inverse of Simpson's concentration (Dequiv), beta-diversity and plant cover were estimated using the percentage of cover per species recorded in 34 sites in the different regions with contrasted climates. Overall, plant species richness, Dequiv and plant cover were lower in sites located at higher latitudes. We found a unimodal relationship between species richness and elevation and this pattern was constant independently of the regional climatic conditions. Soil quality decreased the beta-diversity among the plots in each massif and increased the richness, the Dequiv and cover. Segregated patterns of species co-occurrence were related to increases in richness, Dequiv and plant cover at finer scales. Our results showed that elevation patterns of alpine plant diversity remained constant along the regions although the mechanisms underlying these diversity patterns may differ among climatic regions. They also suggested that the patterns of plant diversity in alpine ecosystems respond to a series of factors (abiotic and biotic) that act jointly at different spatial scale determining the assemblages of local communities, but their importance can only be assessed using a multi-scale spatial approach.


Assuntos
Altitude , Biodiversidade , Plantas , Chile , Clima , Ecossistema , Solo , Especificidade da Espécie
5.
Ann Bot ; 121(2): 335-344, 2018 02 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29300824

RESUMO

Background and Aims: In Mediterranean annual plants, germination mainly occurs during the autumn and only those seedlings that survive winter freezing can flower and produce seedlings in spring. Surprisingly, the effect of freezing events as an abiotic determinant of these communities remains unexplored. The present study aimed to investigate how freezing events affect annual Mediterranean communities and whether their functional structure as related to freezing resistance is linked to the main biotic and abiotic determinants of these communities. Methods: In 120 plots located on a semi-arid Mediterranean steppe (Spain), the community functional structure related to the lethal temperature causing 50 % frost damage (LT50 trait) in seedlings was estimated and summarized as the community-weighted mean (CWM-LT50) and its functional diversity (FD-LT50). Plots were stratified according to distance to rabbit shelters and latrines as a proxy for rabbit density, proximity to Stipa tenacissima and spring water availability, where annual species abundance was recorded in all plots over three consecutive years. Key Results: Annual species were able to resist a threshold temperature of -4 °C and most had LT50 values around the absolute minimum temperature (-9.5 °C) in the three years. Higher rabbit densities led to lower CWM-LT50 and higher FD-LT50 values. Plots close to Stipa tussocks had higher CWM-LT50 values whereas water availability had no effects. Conclusions: High freezing resistance was extended among winter annual species, suggesting the presence of an association between historical environmental filtering and low winter temperatures. However, the community functional structure related to freezing resistance remained variable among scenarios with differences in herbivory pressure and distance to perennial vegetation. The trends observed indicate that traits that allow plants to deal with herbivory may also promote freezing resistance, and that tussocks can act as nurses via microclimatic amelioration of harsher winter conditions.


Assuntos
Magnoliopsida/fisiologia , Animais , Ecossistema , Congelamento , Herbivoria , Região do Mediterrâneo , Poaceae/fisiologia , Coelhos , Estações do Ano , Plântula/fisiologia
6.
Front Plant Sci ; 7: 194, 2016.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26941761

RESUMO

Assessing freezing community response and whether freezing resistance is related to other functional traits is essential for understanding alpine community assemblages, particularly in Mediterranean environments where plants are exposed to freezing temperatures and summer droughts. Thus, we characterized the leaf freezing resistance of 42 plant species in 38 plots at Sierra de Guadarrama (Spain) by measuring their ice nucleation temperature, freezing point (FP), and low-temperature damage (LT50), as well as determining their freezing resistance mechanisms (i.e., tolerance or avoidance). The community response to freezing was estimated for each plot as community weighted means (CWMs) and functional diversity (FD), and we assessed their relative importance with altitude. We established the relationships between freezing resistance, growth forms, and four key plant functional traits (i.e., plant height, specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content (LDMC), and seed mass). There was a wide range of freezing resistance responses and more than in other alpine habitats. At the community level, the CWMs of FP and LT50 responded negatively to altitude, whereas the FD of both traits increased with altitude. The proportion of freezing-tolerant species also increased with altitude. The ranges of FP and LT50 varied among growth forms, and only leaf dry matter content was negatively correlated with freezing-resistance traits. Summer freezing events represent important abiotic filters for assemblies of Mediterranean high mountain communities, as suggested by the CWMs. However, a concomitant summer drought constraint may also explain the high freezing resistance of species that thrive in these areas and the lower FD of freezing resistance traits at lower altitudes. Leaves with high dry matter contents may maintain turgor at lower water potential and enhance drought tolerance in parallel to freezing resistance. This adaptation to drought seems to be a general prerequisite for plants found in xeric mountains.

7.
Oecologia ; 180(4): 975-87, 2016 Apr.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26820565

RESUMO

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.


Assuntos
Meio Ambiente , Modelos Biológicos , Fenômenos Fisiológicos Vegetais , Biodiversidade , Fenótipo
8.
PLoS One ; 10(3): e0118876, 2015.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25774532

RESUMO

Assessing changes in plant functional traits along gradients is useful for understanding the assembly of communities and their response to global and local environmental drivers. However, these changes may reflect the effects of species composition (i.e. composition turnover), species abundance (i.e. species interaction), and intra-specific trait variability (i.e. species plasticity). In order to determine the relevance of the latter, trait variation can be assessed under minimal effects of composition turnover. Nine sampling sites were established along an altitudinal gradient in a Mediterranean high mountain grassland community with low composition turnover (Madrid, Spain; 1940 m-2419 m). Nine functional traits were also measured for ten individuals of around ten plant species at each site, for a total of eleven species across all sites. The relative importance of different sources of variability (within/between site and intra-/inter-specific functional diversity) and trait variation at species and community level along the considered gradients were explored. We found a weak individual species response to altitude and other environmental variables although in some cases, individuals were smaller and leaves were thicker at higher elevations. This lack of species response was most likely due to greater within- than between-site species variation. At the community level, inter-specific functional diversity was generally greater than the intra-specific component except for traits linked to leaf element content (leaf carbon content, leaf nitrogen content, δ13C and δ15N). Inter-specific functional diversity decreased with lower altitude for four leaf traits (specific leaf area, leaf dry matter content, δ13C and δ15N), suggesting trait convergence between species at lower elevations, where water shortage may have a stronger environmental filtering effect than colder temperatures at higher altitudes. Our results suggest that, within a vegetation type encompassing various environmental gradients, both, changes in species abundance and intra-specific trait variability adjust for the community functional response to environmental changes.


Assuntos
Biodiversidade , Interação Gene-Ambiente , Pradaria , Plantas/genética , Altitude , Clima , Ecossistema , Genes de Plantas , Variação Genética , Região do Mediterrâneo , Especificidade da Espécie
9.
New Phytol ; 204(1): 140-8, 2014 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24954264

RESUMO

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.


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