Examining variation in the leaf mass per area of dominant species across two contrasting tropical gradients in light of community assembly
Bentley, Lisa Patrick
Marimon, Beatriz S.
Marimon-Junior, Ben Hur
Almeida de Oliveira, Edmar
Barbosa Passos, Fábio
Castro Ccoscco, Rosa
dos Santos, Josias
Matias Reis, Simone
Morandi, Paulo S.
Rayme Paucar, Gloria
Robles Cáceres, Arturo
Valdez Tejeira, Yolvi
Yllanes Choque, Yovana
Asner, Gregory P.
Enquist, Brian J.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
leaf mass per area
MetadataShow full item record
CitationExamining variation in the leaf mass per area of dominant species across two contrasting tropical gradients in light of community assembly 2016, 6 (16):5674 Ecology and Evolution
JournalEcology and Evolution
Rights© 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Collection InformationThis item from the UA Faculty Publications collection is made available by the University of Arizona with support from the University of Arizona Libraries. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AbstractUnderstanding variation in key functional traits across gradients in high diversity systems and the ecology of community changes along gradients in these systems is crucial in light of conservation and climate change. We examined inter- and intraspecific variation in leaf mass per area (LMA) of sun and shade leaves along a 3330-m elevation gradient in Peru, and in sun leaves across a forest-savanna vegetation gradient in Brazil. We also compared LMA variance ratios (T-statistics metrics) to null models to explore internal (i.e., abiotic) and environmental filtering on community structure along the gradients. Community- weighted LMA increased with decreasing forest cover in Brazil, likely due to increased light availability and water stress, and increased with elevation in Peru, consistent with the leaf economic spectrum strategy expected in colder, less productive environments. A very high species turnover was observed along both environmental gradients, and consequently, the first source of variation in LMA was species turnover. Variation in LMA at the genus or family levels was greater in Peru than in Brazil. Using dominant trees to examine possible filters on community assembly, we found that in Brazil, internal filtering was strongest in the forest, while environmental filtering was observed in the dry savanna. In Peru, internal filtering was observed along 80% of the gradient, perhaps due to variation in taxa or interspecific competition. Environmental filtering was observed at cloud zone edges and in lowlands, possibly due to water and nutrient availability, respectively. These results related to variation in LMA indicate that biodiversity in species rich tropical assemblages may be structured by differential niche-based processes. In the future, specific mechanisms generating these patterns of variation in leaf functional traits across tropical environmental gradients should be explored.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsLeverhulme Trust; European Research Council [GEM-TRAITS (321131)]; Natural Environment Research Council [NE/J023418/ 1]; Division of Environmental Biology [1146206, 1457804]
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