Oecologia

, Volume 167, Issue 4, pp 1103–1113

Within- and among-species variation in specific leaf area drive community assembly in a tropical cloud forest

Authors

  • Wenxing Long
    • Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry AdministrationInstitute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry
    • Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry AdministrationInstitute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry
  • Brandon S. Schamp
    • Department of BiologyAlgoma University
  • Yi Ding
    • Key Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Environment of State Forestry AdministrationInstitute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry
Community ecology - Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2050-9

Cite this article as:
Long, W., Zang, R., Schamp, B.S. et al. Oecologia (2011) 167: 1103. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2050-9

Abstract

Specific leaf area (SLA) is a key functional trait reflecting the trade-off between resource capture and conservation, and has been identified as playing an important role in plant community assembly. Mechanistic models of community assembly state that the assemblage of species in a local community is controlled by environment filters operating on functional traits. We measured within- and among-species variation of SLA, and environmental conditions in a tropical cloud forest to explore how variation in this functional trait contributes to community assembly. SLA variation at the species level was also decomposed into alpha (within assemblage variation), and beta (across assemblage variation) values. SLA decreased with increasing solar irradiance (approximated using plant height) within the three study sites, and differed among the three sites both for within- and among-species comparisons. Mean plot SLA, accounting for both within and among species across the three sites, increased significantly in relation to air temperature but not local photosynthetic photon flux density and soil total phosphorus. Alpha SLA decreased with increasing solar irradiance within the three sites and beta SLA differed among the three sites. Our results clearly demonstrate that light and air temperature are key environmental factors involved in organizing plant species within and among communities in tropical cloud forests. The strong relationship between both intra- and interspecific variation in SLA and environmental conditions strongly confirms the role of trait variation in the assembly of plant species in tropical cloud forest communities via environment filtering related to light availability and air temperature.

Keywords

Air temperatureEnvironmental filteringSolar irradianceSpecies assemblageTrait variation

Supplementary material

442_2011_2050_MOESM1_ESM.doc (100 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 100 kb)
442_2011_2050_MOESM2_ESM.doc (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 1468 kb)
442_2011_2050_MOESM3_ESM.doc (546 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 546 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011