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Less lineages – more trait variation: phylogenetically clustered plant communities are functionally more diverse

Authors

  • Andreas Prinzing,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department Ecology, Radboud University, Toernooiveld 1, 6525ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. University Rennes 1, CNRS, Unit “Ecobio” Group “Ecology of Diversification”, Campus Beaulieu, Bâtiment 14A, 35042 Rennes, France
      * E-mail: andreas.prinzing@univ-rennes1.fr
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  • Reineke Reiffers,

    1. Alterra, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, WUR, PO Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Wim G. Braakhekke,

    1. Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3a, 6708PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Stephan M. Hennekens,

    1. Alterra, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, WUR, PO Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Oliver Tackenberg,

    1. Universität Frankfurt, Institut für Ökologie, Evolution & Diversität, Haus B, Siesmeyerstraße 70, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
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  • Wim A. Ozinga,

    1. Department Ecology, Radboud University, Toernooiveld 1, 6525ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. Alterra, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, WUR, PO Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Joop H. J. Schaminée,

    1. Department Ecology, Radboud University, Toernooiveld 1, 6525ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands
    2. Alterra, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, WUR, PO Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Jan M. Van Groenendael

    1. Department Ecology, Radboud University, Toernooiveld 1, 6525ED Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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* E-mail: andreas.prinzing@univ-rennes1.fr

Abstract

Functional diversity within communities may influence ecosystem functioning, but which factors drive functional diversity? We hypothesize that communities assembled from many phylogenetic lineages show large functional diversity if assembly is random, but low functional diversity if assembly is controlled by interactions between species within lineages. We combined > 9000 descriptions of Dutch plant communities, a species-level phylogeny, and information on 16 functional traits (including eight dispersal traits). We found that all traits were conserved within lineages, but nevertheless communities assembled from many lineages showed a smaller variation in trait-states of most traits (including dispersal traits) than communities assembled from few lineages. Hence, within lineages, species are not randomly assembled into communities, contradicting Neutral Theory. In fact, we find evidence for evolutionary divergence in trait-states as well as present-day mutual exclusion among related, similar species, suggesting that functional diversity of communities increased due to past and present interactions between species within lineages.

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