Underdispersion of anti-herbivore defence traits and phylogenetic structure of cerrado tree species at fine spatial scale
Article first published online: 17 MAY 2012
© 2012 International Association for Vegetation Science
Journal of Vegetation Science
Volume 23, Issue 6, pages 1095–1104, December 2012
How to Cite
Loiola, P. P., Silva, I. A., Silva, D. M., Batalha, M. A. (2012), Underdispersion of anti-herbivore defence traits and phylogenetic structure of cerrado tree species at fine spatial scale. Journal of Vegetation Science, 23: 1095–1104. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01424.x
- Issue published online: 7 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 17 MAY 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 APR 2012
- Manuscript Received: 24 MAY 2010
- Assembly rules;
- Biotic interactions;
- Environmental filter;
- Phylogenetic signal;
Do species phylogeny and herbivory-related defence traits influence species co-occurrence in the cerrado? Are anti-herbivory defence traits under- or overdispersed in the quadrats? Do soil features mediate these patterns?
A cerrado site in SE Brazil (21°58′05.3″ S, 47°52′10.1″ W).
We analysed 100 quadrats of 5 m × 5 m each, and sampled all woody individuals. For each species, we measured nine defence traits against herbivory and tested against null models whether (1) phylogenetic dissimilarities were under- or overdispersed, (2) trait species dissimilarities were under- or overdispersed, and (3) these spatial patterns were associated with soil nutrient content, considering the variation of sum of bases, organic matter, and aluminium.
We found phylogenetic signals in two traits, and conservatism of traits as a whole was significant. Phylogenetic structure of communities was in general clustered. We found trait underdispersion for specific leaf area, water content, leaf toughness, and leaf nutritional quality. Specific leaf area was also overdispersed in quadrats. We did not find either under- or overdispersion related to soil features.
As phylogenetic and trait underdispersion were not associated with soil features, and fire and drought are not expected to change at study scale, some biotic interaction may be responsible for underdispersion. We postulated that insect herbivory, when representing a large constraint to trees in this environment, could lead to functional and phylogenetic underdispersion.