trait variability
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2022 ◽  
Vol 4 ◽  
Matthew J. Hecking ◽  
Jenna M. Zukswert ◽  
John E. Drake ◽  
Martin Dovciak ◽  
Julia I. Burton

Trait-based analyses provide powerful tools for developing a generalizable, physiologically grounded understanding of how forest communities are responding to ongoing environmental changes. Key challenges lie in (1) selecting traits that best characterize the ecological performance of species in the community and (2) determining the degree and importance of intraspecific variability in those traits. Recent studies suggest that globally evident trait correlations (trait dimensions), such as the leaf economic spectrum, may be weak or absent at local scales. Moreover, trait-based analyses that utilize a mean value to represent a species may be misleading. Mean trait values are particularly problematic if species trait value rankings change along environmental gradients, resulting in species trait crossover. To assess how plant traits (1) covary at local spatial scales, (2) vary across the dominant environmental gradients, and (3) can be partitioned within and across taxa, we collected data on 9 traits for 13 tree species spanning the montane temperate—boreal forest ecotones of New York and northern New England. The primary dimension of the trait ordination was the leaf economic spectrum, with trait variability among species largely driven by differences between deciduous angiosperms and evergreen gymnosperms. A second dimension was related to variability in nitrogen to phosphorous levels and stem specific density. Levels of intraspecific trait variability differed considerably among traits, and was related to variation in light, climate, and tree developmental stage. However, trait rankings across species were generally conserved across these gradients and there was little evidence of species crossover. The persistence of the leaf economics spectrum in both temperate and high-elevation conifer forests suggests that ecological strategies of tree species are associated with trade-offs between resource acquisition and tolerance, and may be quantified with relatively few traits. Furthermore, the assumption that species may be represented with a single trait value may be warranted for some trait-based analyses provided traits were measured under similar light levels and climate conditions.

2021 ◽  
Piotr Olszewski ◽  
Radosław Puchałka ◽  
Piotr Sewerniak ◽  
Marcin Koprowski ◽  
Werner Ulrich

Abstract Increasing evidence points to the major impact of intraspecific variability in species characteristics on community assembly. Contrasting theories predict that high trait variability might either steepening dominance orders or promote diversity. Here, we try to test these predictions with understorey plants in a Polish mixed temperate forest. We focus on four important traits (leaf dry mass LDW, plant height SH, specific leaf area SLA, and number of flowers NF) of the small balsam Impatiens parviflora, the dominant species in this forest system. We relate trait variability to community species richness and abundances, as well as to soil characteristics. The variance – mean relationships of LDW, LH, and NF, but not of SLA, closely followed power functions with slopes > 1.5. Contrary to theory, abundances but not species richness of non-I. parviflora species significantly decreased within increasing variance in I. parviflora trait expression. High trait variability prevailed a higher species richness. Trait variability did not significantly influence species composition and was not significantly correlated with soil characteristics. Our results emphasis the need to study trait variability in terms of appropriate statistical standards as provided by the allometric variance - mean relationship. We argue that an individual based study of local trait variability might return important insights into the composition and assembly of local communities.

Allan Raffard ◽  
Elvire Bestion ◽  
Julien Cote ◽  
Bart Haegeman ◽  
Nicolas Schtickzelle ◽  

2021 ◽  
Li Zhang ◽  
Xiang Liu ◽  
Shurong Zhou ◽  
Bill Shipley

Abstract Aims While recent studies have shown the importance of intraspecific trait variation in the processes of community assembly, we still know little about the contributions of intraspecific trait variability to ecosystem functions. Methods Here, we conducted a functional group removal experiment in an alpine meadow in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau over four years to investigate the relative importance of inter- and intra-specific variability in plant height for productivity. We split total variability in plant height within each of 75 manipulated communities into interspecific variability (TVinter) and intraspecific variability within a community (ITVwithin). Community weighted mean height among communities was decomposed into fixed community weighted mean (CWMfixed) and intraspecific variability among communities (ITVamong). We constructed a series of generalized additive mixed models and piecewise structural equation modelling to determine how trait variability (i.e., TVinter, ITVwithin, CWMfixed and ITVamong) indirectly mediated the changes in productivity in response to functional group removal. Important Findings Community productivity was not only affected directly by treatment manipulations, but also increased with both inter- and intra-specific variability (i.e., CWMfixed, ITVamong) in plant height indirectly. This suggests that both the “selection effect” and a “shade-avoidance syndrome” can incur higher CWMfixed and ITVamong, and may simultaneously operate to regulate productivity. Our findings provide new evidence that, besides interspecific variability, intraspecific trait variability in plant height also plays a role in maintaining net primary productivity.

Josevânia Carneiro de Oliveira ◽  
Marília Grazielly Mendes dos Santos ◽  
Sâmia Paula Santos Neves ◽  
Angela Pierre Vitória ◽  
Davi Rodrigo Rossatto ◽  

2021 ◽  
Ricardo Oliveira ◽  
Aingeru Martínez ◽  
Ana Lúcia Gonçalves ◽  
Cristina Canhoto

2021 ◽  
Vol 453 ◽  
pp. 109606
Jessica Hetzer ◽  
Andreas Huth ◽  
Franziska Taubert

Oecologia ◽  
2021 ◽  
Erola Fenollosa ◽  
Laia Jené ◽  
Sergi Munné-Bosch

AbstractSeeds play a major role in plant species persistence and expansion, and therefore they are essential when modeling species dynamics. However, homogeneity in seed traits is generally assumed, underestimating intraspecific trait variability across the geographic space, which might bias species success models. The aim of this study was to evaluate the existence and consequences of interpopulation variability in seed traits of the invasive species Carpobrotus edulis at different geographical scales. We measured seed production, morphology, vigour and longevity of nine populations of C. edulis along the Catalan coast (NE Spain) from three differentiated zones with a human presence gradient. Geographic distances between populations were contrasted against individual and multivariate trait distances to explore trait variation along the territory, evaluating the role of bioclimatic variables and human density of the different zones. The analysis revealed high interpopulation variability that was not explained by geographic distance, as regardless of the little distance between some populations (< 0.5 km), significant differences were found in several seed traits. Seed production, germination, and persistence traits showed the strongest spatial variability up to 6000% of percent trait variability between populations, leading to differentiated C. edulis soil seed bank dynamics at small distances, which may demand differentiated strategies for a cost-effective species management. Seed trait variability was influenced by human density but also bioclimatic conditions, suggesting a potential impact of increased anthropogenic pressure and climate shifts. Geographic interpopulation trait variation should be included in ecological models and will be important for assessing species responses to environmental heterogeneity and change.

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