Different trends in phylogenetic and functional structure of plant communities along an elevation gradient

Abstract

The study of diversity gradients due to elevation dates back to the foundation of biogeography and ecology. Although elevation-driven patterns of plant diversity have been reported for centuries, uncertainty still exists about the assembly rules that drive these patterns. In this study, we revealed the causal factor of community assemblies for the diversity of tree and herb species along an elevation. To this end, we applied an integrated method using both functional traits and phylogeny, called the mean pairwise functional-phylogenetic distance, to understand the assembly rules for woody and herbaceous species communities along an elevation gradient. At higher elevation sites, woody and herbaceous communities were comprised of species having similar traits. The phylogenetic trends for woody species were consistent with the functional trends; closely related species co-occurred more frequently than expected at higher elevations. Phylogenetic trends for herb species were opposite to the functional trends; species with similar traits but having a random phylogenetic distribution co-occurred at higher elevations. We suggest that the community assembly rules for woody and herb species vary with elevation; and functional constraints due to environmental filtering at higher elevation act as assembly rules along gradients in both woody and herbaceous communities, even though their phylogenetic backgrounds differ.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Ackerly D (2009) Conservatism and diversification of plant functional traits: evolutionary rates versus phylogenetic signal. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106:19699–19706

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Araya YN, Silvertown J, Gowing DJ, McConway KJ, Linder HP, Midgley G (2012) Do niche-structured plant communities exhibit phylogenetic conservatism? a test case in an endemic clade. J Ecol 100:1434–1439. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Baraloto C, Hardy OJ, Paine CET, Dexter KG, Cruaud C, Dunning LT, Gonzalez MA, Molino JF, Sabatier D, Savolainen V, Chave J (2012) Using functional traits and phylogenetic trees to examine the assembly of tropical tree communities. J Ecol 100:690–701. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2012.01966.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bartish IV, Ozinga WA, Bartish MI, Wamelink GWW, Hennekens SM, Prinzing A (2016) Different habitats within a region contain evolutionary heritage from different epochs depending on the abiotic environment. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 25:274–285. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12408

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bässler C, Cadotte MW, Beudert B, Heibl C, Blaschke M, Bradtka JM, Langbehn T, Werth S, Müller J (2016) Contrasting patterns of lichen functional diversity and species richness across an elevation gradient. Ecography (Cop) 39:689–698. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.01789

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Batalha MA, Pipenbaher N, Bakan B, Kaligarič M, Škornik S (2015) Assessing community assembly along a successional gradient in the North Adriatic Karst with functional and phylogenetic distances. Oecologia 178:1205–1214. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3295-5

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Bryant JA, Lamanna C, Morlon H, Kerkhoff AJ, Enquist BJ, Green JL (2008) Microbes on mountainsides: Contrasting elevational patterns of bacterial and plant diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sei 105:11505–11511. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801920105

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cadotte M, Albert CH, Walker SC (2013) The ecology of differences: assessing community assembly with trait and evolutionary distances. Ecol Lett 16:1234–1244. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12161

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Cardillo M (1999) Latitude and rates of diversification in birds and butterflies. Proc R Soc B Biol Sci 266:1221–1225. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1999.0766

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cavender-Bares J, Ackerly DD, Baum DA, Bazzaz FA (2004) Phylogenetic overdispersion in Floridian oak communities. Am Nat 163:823–843. https://doi.org/10.1086/386375

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Côté SD, Rooney TP, Tremblay JP, Dussault C, Waller DM (2004) Ecological impacts of deer overabundance. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:113–147. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.35.021103.105725

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Culmsee H, Leuschner C (2013) Consistent patterns of elevational change in tree taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity across Malesian mountain forests. J Biogeogr 40:1997–2010. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12138

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Donoghue MJ (2008) A phylogenetic perspective on the distribution of plant diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci 105:11549–11555. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0801962105

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Dreiss KM, Burgio KR, Cisneros LM, Klingbeil BT, Patterson BD, Presley SJ, Willig MR (2015) Taxonomic, functional, and phylogenetic dimensions of rodent biodiversity along an extensive tropical elevational gradient. Ecography (Cop) 38:876–888. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.00971

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gerhold P, Cahill JF, Winter M, Bartish IV, Prinzing A (2015) Phylogenetic patterns are not proxies of community assembly mechanisms (they are far better). Funct Ecol 29:600–614. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.12425

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gianuca AT, Declerck SAJ, Cadotte MW, Souffreau C, Bie TD, Meester LD (2017) Integrating trait and phylogenetic distances to assess scale-dependent community assembly processes. Ecography (Cop) 40:742–752. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.02263

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hardy OJ, Senterre B (2007) Characterizing the phylogenetic structure of communities by an additive partitioning of phylogenetic diversity. J Ecol 95:493–506. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01222.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Harvey PH, Pagel MD (1991) The comparative method in evolutionary biology. Trends Ecol Evol 239:239. https://doi.org/10.1016/0169-5347(92)90117-T

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hawkins BA, Rodríguez MÁ, Weller SG (2011) Global angiosperm family richness revisited: linking ecology and evolution to climate. J Biogeogr 38:1253–1266. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02490.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hawkins BA, Rueda M, Rangel TF, Field R, Diniz-Filho JA, Linder P (2014) Community phylogenetics at the biogeographical scale: cold tolerance, niche conservatism and the structure of North American forests. J Biogeogr 41:23–38. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12171

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Heikkala O, Seibold S, Koivula M, Martikainen P, Müller J, Thorn S, Kouki J (2016) Retention forestry and prescribed burning result in functionally different saproxylic beetle assemblages than clear-cutting. For Ecol Manag 359:51–58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2015.09.043

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. HilleRisLambers J, Adler PB, Harpole WS, Levine JM, Mayfield MM (2012) Rethinking community assembly through the lens of coexistence theory. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 43:227–248. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110411-160411

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Horsley SB, Stout SL, DeCalesta DS (2003) White-tailed deer impact on the vegetation dynamics of a northern hardwood forest. Ecol Appl 13:98–118. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(2003)013[0098:wtdiot]2.0.co;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kaji K, Okada H, Yamanaka M, Matsuda H, Yabe T (2004) Irruption of a colonizing sika deer population. J Wildl Manag 68:889–899. https://doi.org/10.2193/0022-541x(2004)068[0889:ioacsd]2.0.co;2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Kembel SW, Cowan PD, Helmus MR, Cornwell WK, Morlon H, Ackerly DD, Blomberg SP, Webb CO (2010) Picante: r tools for integrating phylogenies and ecology. Bioinformatics 26:1463–1464. https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btq166

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  26. Kubota Y, Kusumoto B, Shiono T, Tanaka T (2016) Phylogenetic properties of tertiary relict flora in the east Asian continental islands: imprint of climatic niche conservatism and in situ diversification. Ecography (Cop). https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.02033

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Kusumoto B, Kubota Y (2014) Phylogenetic patterns predicting variations in bark-stripping by sika deer. J Wildl Manag 78:1492–1498. https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.782

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Losos JB (2008) Phylogenetic niche conservatism, phylogenetic signal and the relationship between phylogenetic relatedness and ecological similarity among species. Ecol Lett 11:995–1003. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01229.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Machac A, Janda M, Dunn RR, Sanders NJ (2011) Elevational gradients in phylogenetic structure of ant communities reveal the interplay of biotic and abiotic constraints on diversity. Ecography (Cop) 34:364–371. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0587.2010.06629.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Magallón S, Hilu KW, Quandt D (2013) Land plant evolutionary timeline: gene effects are secondary to fossil constraints in relaxed clock estimation of age and substitution rates. Am J Bot 100:556–573. https://doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1200416

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  31. Mori AS, Furukawa T, Sasaki T (2013a) Response diversity determines the resilience of ecosystems to environmental change. Biol Rev 88:349–364. https://doi.org/10.1111/brv.12004

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Mori AS, Shiono T, Koide D, Kitagawa R, Ota AT, Mizumachi E (2013b) Community assembly processes shape an altitudinal gradient of forest biodiversity. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 22:878–888

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Mouquet N, Devictor V, Meynard CN, Munoz F, Bersier LF, Chave J, Couteron P, Dalecky A, Fontaine C, Gravel D, Hardy OJ, Jabot F, Lavergne S, Leibold M, Mouillot D, Münkemüller T, Pavoine S, Prinzing A, Rodrigues AS, Rohr RP, Thébault E, Thuiller W (2012) Ecophylogenetics: advances and perspectives. Biol Rev 87:769–785. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-185X.2012.00224.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Nishizawa K, Tatsumi S, Kitagawa R, Mori AS (2016) Deer herbivory affects the functional diversity of forest floor plants via changes in competition-mediated assembly rules. Ecol Res 31:569–578. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-016-1367-6

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Obeso JR (2002) The costs of reproduction in plants. New Phytol 155:321–348. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1469-8137.2002.00477.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Oksanen J, Blanchet FG, Kindt R, Legendre P, Minchin PR, O’Hara RB, Simpson GL, Solymos P, Stevens MHH, Wagner H (2016) Vegan: community ecology package. R Packag version 24-1 Available at: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packa. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412971874.n145

  37. Pavoine S, Vallet J, Dufour AB, Gachet S, Daniel S (2009) On the challenge of treating various types of variables: application for improving the measurement of functional diversity. Oikos 118:391–402. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2008.16668.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Pavoine S, Gasc A, Bonsall MB, Mason NWH (2013) Special feature: functional diversity correlations between phylogenetic and functional diversity: mathematical artefacts or true ecological and evolutionary processes? J Veg Sci 24:781–793. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12051

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Pérez-Harguindeguy N, Díaz S, Lavorel S, Poorter H, Jaureguiberry P, Bret-Harte MS, Cornwell WK, Craine JM, Gurvich DE, Urcelay C, Veneklaas EJ, Reich PB, Poorter L, Wright IJ, Ray P, Enrico L, Pausas JG, de Vos AC, Buchmann N, Funes G, Quétier F, Hodgson JG, Thompson K, Morgan HD, ter Steege H, van der Heijden MGA, Sack L, Blonder B, Poschlod P, Vaieretti MV, Conti G, Staver AC, Aquino S, Cornelissen JHC (2013) New handbook for standardized measurment of plant functional traits worldwide. Aust J Bot 23:167–234. https://doi.org/10.1071/BT12225

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Petchey OL, Gaston KJ (2006) Functional diversity: back to basics and looking forward. Ecol Lett 9:741–758. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00924.x

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Prinzing A (2016) On the opportunity of using phylogenetic information to ask evolutionary questions in functional community ecology. Folia Geobot 51:69–74. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12224-016-9242-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Qian H (2014) Contrasting relationships between clade age and temperature along latitudinal versus elevational gradients for woody angiosperms in forests of South America. J Veg Sci 25:1208–1215. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12175

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Rasband WS (1997–2009) I mageJ. US. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/

  44. Rosenblum EB, Parent CE, Brandt EE (2014) The molecular basis of phenotypic convergence. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 45:203–226. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-120213-091851

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Shiono T, Kusumoto B, Maeshiro R, Fujii S, Götzenberger L, de Bello F, Kubota Y (2015) Climatic drivers of trait assembly in woody plants in Japan. J Biogeogr 42:1176–1186. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.12503

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Si X, Cadotte MW, Zeng D, Baselga A, Zhao Y, Li J, Wu Y, Wang S, Ding P (2017) Functional and phylogenetic structure of island bird communities. J Anim Ecol 86:532–542. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12650

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Spasojevic MJ, Suding KN (2012) Inferring community assembly mechanisms from functional diversity patterns: the importance of multiple assembly processes. J Ecol 100:652–661. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2011.01945.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Spasojevic MJ, Aicher RJ, Koch GR, Marquardt ES, Mirotchnick N, Troxler TG, Collins SL (2010) Fire and grazing in a mesic tallgrass prairie: impacts on plant species and functional traits. Ecology 91:1651–1659. https://doi.org/10.1890/09-0431.1

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Webb CO (2000) Exploring the phylogenetic structure of ecological communities: an example for rain forest trees. Am Nat 156:145–155. https://doi.org/10.1086/303378

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Webb CO, Ackerly DD, Kembel SW (2008) Phylocom: software for the analysis of phylogenetic community structure and trait evolution. Bioinformatics 24:2098–2100. https://doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btn358

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  51. Wikström N, Savolainen V, Chase MW (2001) Evolution of the angiosperms: calibrating the family tree. Proc Biol Sci 268:2211–2220. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2001.1782

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  52. Wilson PJ, Thompson K, Hodgson JG (1999) Specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content as alternative predictors of plant strategies. New Phytol 143:155–162. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1469-8137.1999.00427.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study could not have been completed without the particularly demanding fieldwork, and we are grateful to all who assisted with this work. We are particularly thankful to Takayuki Shiono, ToeToeAung, Ryo Maeshiro, Shenhua Qian, Takayuki Ohgue, and Keita Nishizawa. We thank Shinichi Tatsumi for instructive advice and field work. This research was supported by grants from the Sumitomo Foundation, the Japan Securities Scholarship Foundation, and Kajima Foundation. Logistical support for fieldwork was provided by the Shiretoko Foundation.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

KR Originally formulated the idea, developed original idea, conducted fieldwork, performed statistical analyses, and wrote the manuscript. KD Developed original idea, conducted fieldwork and wrote the manuscript. MAS Originally formulated the idea, developed original idea, conducted fieldwork, and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryo Kitagawa.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3488 kb)

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Kitagawa, R., Koide, D. & Mori, A.S. Different trends in phylogenetic and functional structure of plant communities along an elevation gradient. Ecol Res 33, 1233–1243 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11284-018-1638-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Functional diversity
  • Phylogenetic diversity
  • Plant community
  • Assembly rule
  • Elevation gradient