Potential tradeoffs between intraspecific and interspecific trait variations along an environmental gradient in a subtropical forest

Original Paper
  • 10 Downloads

Abstract

There has been growing attention to intraspecific variation in trait-based plant ecology. However, studies on these changes across ontogenetic stages and the potential trade-offs with interspecific traits along environmental gradients are rare. In this study, we measured six wood and bark traits of 1030 trees of six species (Castanopsis nigrescens; C. carlesii; Lithocarpus polystachyus; L. synbalanos; Ormosia glaberrima; O. pachycarpa) from a 10-ha plot in a subtropical forest. Mean intraspecific variation in bark thickness and bark percentage to DBH was more than twice that for wood density and bark density. Bark thickness and bark percentage showed a consistent trend with increasing tree size. Small-tree traits were more variable than the same traits in larger trees. Altitude, convexity and soil nutrients explained the majority of the variations in the six traits, while sibling species had similar relationships between traits and environmental variables. Trees with dense wood and thin bark were usually found on steep slopes at lower altitudes. Our findings show intraspecific trait variability has different spatial patterns compared with interspecific variabilities along an environmental gradient.

Keywords

Environmental heterogeneity Tradeoffs Intraspecific and interspecific variations Wood/bark traits Subtropical forest 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Fangliang He and Yuxin Chen for their assistance in writing this manuscript. We also thank Weinan Ye, Buhang Li, Xubing Liu and Meng Xu for their assistance in the field.

References

  1. Ackerly DD, Cornwell WK (2007) A trait-based approach to community assembly: partitioning of species trait values into within- and among-community components. Ecol Lett 10:135–145CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Albert CH, Grassein F, Schurr FM, Vieilledent G, Violle C (2011) When and how should intraspecific variability be considered in trait-based plant ecology? Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst 13:217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albert CH, De Bello F, Boulangeat I, Pellet G, Lavorel S, Thuiller W (2012) On the importance of intraspecific variability for the quantification of functional diversity. Oikos 121:116–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andrade BO, Overbeck GE, Pilger GE, Hermann J-M, Conradi T, Boldrini II, Kollmann J (2014) Intraspecific trait variation and allocation strategies of calcareous grassland species: results from a restoration experiment. Basic Appl Ecol 15:590–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashton IW, Miller AE, Bowman WD, Suding KN (2010) Niche complementarity due to plasticity in resource use: plant partitioning of chemical N forms. Ecology 91:3252–3260CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Auger S, Shipley B (2013) Inter-specific and intra-specific trait variation along short environmental gradients in an old-growth temperate forest. J Veg Sci 24:419–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker TR, Phillips OL, Malhi Y, Almeida S, Arroyo L, Di Fiore A, Erwin T, Killeen TJ, Laurance SG, Laurance WF (2004) Variation in wood density determines spatial patterns in Amazonian forest biomass. Glob Change Biol 10:545–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Benner JW (2011) Epiphytes preferentially colonize high-phosphorus host trees in unfertilized Hawaiian montane forests. Bryologist 114:335–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chave J, Coomes D, Jansen S, Lewis SL, Swenson NG, Zanne AE (2009) Towards a worldwide wood economics spectrum. Ecol Lett 12:351–366CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Courbaud B, Vieilledent G, Kunstler G (2012) Intra-specific variability and the competition–colonization trade-off: coexistence, abundance and stability patterns. Theor Ecol 5:61–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fajardo A, Piper FI (2010) Intraspecific trait variation and covariation in a widespread tree species (Nothofagus pumilio) in southern Chile. New Phytol 189:259–271CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Iida Y, Poorter L, Sterck FJ, Kassim AR, Kubo T, Potts MD, Kohyama TS (2012) Wood density explains architectural differentiation across 145 co-occurring tropical tree species. Funct Ecol 26:274–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. John R, Dalling JW, Harms KE, Yavitt JB, Stallard RF, Mirabello M, Hubbell SP, Valencia R, Navarrete H, Vallejo M (2007) Soil nutrients influence spatial distributions of tropical tree species. Proc Natl Acad Sci 104:864–869CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Jung V, Violle C, Mondy C, Hoffmann L, Muller S (2010) Intraspecific variability and trait-based community assembly. J Ecol 98:1134–1140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kang M, Chang SX, Yan ER, Wang XH (2014) Trait variability differs between leaf and wood tissues across ecological scales in subtropical forests. J Veg Sci 25(3):703–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kichenin E, Wardle DA, Peltzer DA, Morse CW, Freschet GT (2013) Contrasting effects of plant inter- and intraspecific variation on community-level trait measures along an environmental gradient. Funct Ecol 27:1254–1261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. King DA, Davies SJ, Tan S, Noor NURS (2006) The role of wood density and stem support costs in the growth and mortality of tropical trees. J Ecol 94:670–680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kraft NJB, Valencia R, Ackerly DD (2008) Functional traits and niche-based tree community assembly in an Amazonian forest. Science 322:580CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Kraft NJB, Adler PB, Godoy O, James EC, Fuller S, Levine JM (2015) Community assembly, coexistence and the environmental filtering metaphor. Funct Ecol 29(5):592–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Laughlin DC, Joshi C, Bodegom PM, Bastow ZA, Fulé PZ (2012) A predictive model of community assembly that incorporates intraspecific trait variation. Ecol Lett 15:1291–1299CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Lawes MJ, Richards A, Dathe J, Midgley JJ (2011) Bark thickness determines fire resistance of selected tree species from fire-prone tropical savanna in north Australia. Plant Ecol 212:2057–2069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Legleiter CJ, Kyriakidis PC (2008) Spatial prediction of river channel topography by kriging. Earth Surf Proc Land 33:841–867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lepš J, de Bello F, Šmilauer P, Doležal J (2011) Community trait response to environment: disentangling species turnover vs intraspecific trait variability effects. Ecography 34:856–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liang MX, Liu XB, Etienne RS, Huang FM, Wang YF, Yu SX (2015) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi counteract the Janzen-Connell effect of soil pathogens. Ecology 96:562–574CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Liu XB, Liang MX, Etienne RS, Wang YF, Staehelin C, Yu SX (2012a) Experimental evidence for a phylogenetic Janzen-Connell effect in a subtropical forest. Ecol Lett 15:111–118CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Liu X, Swenson NG, Wright SJ, Zhang L, Song K, Du Y, Zhang J, Mi X, Ren H, Ma K (2012b) Covariation in plant functional traits and soil fertility within two species-rich forests. PLoS ONE 7:e34767CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  27. Liu XB, Etienne RS, Liang MX, Wang YF, Yu SX (2015) Experimental evidence for an intraspecific Janzen-Connell effect mediated by soil biota. Ecology 96:662–671CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. McGill BJ, Enquist BJ, Weiher E, Westoby M (2006) Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits. Trends Ecol Evol 21:178–185CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Messier J, McGill BJ, Lechowicz MJ (2010) How do traits vary across ecological scales? A case for trait-based ecology. Ecol Lett 13:838–848CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Modlmeier AP, Forrester NJ, Pruitt JN (2014) Habitat structure helps guide the emergence of colony-level personality in social spiders. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68(12):1965–1972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Muller-Landau HC (2004) Interspecific and inter-site variation in wood specific gravity of tropical trees. Biotropica 36:20–32Google Scholar
  32. Paine CET, Stahl C, Courtois EA, PatiñO S, Sarmiento C, Baraloto C (2010) Functional explanations for variation in bark thickness in tropical rain forest trees. Funct Ecol 24:1202–1210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pérez -Harguindeguy N, Díaz S, Garnier E, Lavorel S, Poorter H, Jaureguiberry P, Bret-Harte MS, Cornwell WK, Craine JM, Gurvich DE (2013) New handbook for standardized measurement of plant functional traits worldwide. Aust J Bot 61:167–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Poorter L, Mcneil A, Hurtado Victor-Hugo Prins, Herbert HT, Putz FE, Kitajima K (2014) Bark traits and life-history strategies of tropical dry- and moist forest trees. Funct Ecol 28(1):232–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pruitt JN, Ferrari MC (2011) Intraspecific trait variants determine the nature of interspecific interactions in a habitat-forming species. Ecology 92:1902–1908CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. R Development Core Team (2015) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org
  37. Reich PB (2014) The world-wide ‘fast-slow’ plant economics spectrum: a traits manifesto. J Ecol 102:275–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Richardson SJ, Allen RB, Buxton RP, Easdale TA, Hurst JM, Morse CW, Smissen RD, Peltzer DA (2013) Intraspecific relationships among wood density, leaf structural traits and environment in four co-occurring species of Nothofagus in New Zealand. PLoS ONE 8:e58878CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. Rosell JA, Gleason S, Mendez-Alonzo R, Chang Y, Westoby M (2014) Bark functional ecology: evidence for tradeoffs, functional coordination, and environment producing bark diversity. New Phytol 201:486–497CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Sungpalee W, Itoh A, Kanzaki M, Sri-ngernyuang K, Noguchi H, Mizuno T, Teejuntuk S, Hara M, Chai-udom K, Ohkubo T (2009) Intra- and interspecific variation in wood density and fine-scale spatial distribution of stand-level wood density in a northern Thai tropical montane forest. J Trop Ecol 25:359–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Swenson NG, Enquist BJ (2007) Ecological and evolutionary determinants of a key plant functional trait: wood density and its community-wide variation across latitude and elevation. Am J Bot 94:451CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Valencia R, Foster RB, Villa G, Condit R, Svenning JC, Hernandez C, Romoleroux K, Losos E, Magard E, Balslev H (2004) Tree species distributions and local habitat variation in the Amazon: large forest plot in eastern Ecuador. J Ecol 92(2):214–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Violle C, Enquist BJ, McGill BJ, Jiang L, Albert CH, Hulshof C, Jung V, Messier J (2012) The return of the variance: intraspecific variability in community ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 27:244–252CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology, School of Life Sciences/State Key Laboratory of BiocontrolSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations