Intra-specific and inter-specific variation in specific leaf area reveal the importance of abiotic and biotic drivers of species diversity across elevation and latitude

Catherine M. Hulshof, Cyrille Violle, Marko J. Spasojevic, Brian Mcgill, Ellen Damschen, Susan Harrison, Brian Enquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Questions: Are patterns of intra- and inter-specific functional trait variation consistent with greater abiotic filtering on community assembly at high latitudes and elevations, and greater biotic filtering at low latitudes and elevations? Locations: Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona; Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon. Methods: We measured woody plant species abundance and a key functional trait associated with competition for resources and environmental tolerance (specific leaf area, SLA) along elevational gradients in low-latitude tropical (Costa Rica), mid-latitude desert (Arizona) and high latitude mediterranean (southern Oregon) biomes. We explored patterns of abiotic and biotic filtering by comparing observed patterns of community-weighted means and variances along elevational and latitudinal gradients to those expected under random assembly. In addition, we related trait variability to niches and explored how total trait space and breadth vary across broad spatial gradients by quantifying the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation. Results: Both the community-wide mean and variance of SLA decreased with increasing latitude, consistent with greater abiotic filtering at higher latitudes. Further, low-elevation communities had higher trait variation than expected by chance, consistent with greater biotic filtering at low elevations. Finally, in the tropics and across latitude the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation was negatively correlated to species richness, which further suggests that biotic interactions influence plant assembly at low latitudes. Conclusions: Intra- and inter-specific patterns of SLA variation appeared broadly consistent with the idea that the relative strength of biotic and abiotic drivers on community assembly changes along elevational and latitudinal gradients; evidence for biotic drivers appeared more prominent at low latitudes and elevations and evidence for abiotic drivers appeared more prominent at high latitudes and elevations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-931
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

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interspecific variation
leaf area
species diversity
latitudinal gradient
Costa Rica
mountains
mountain
woody plant
biome
woody plants
deserts
niche
tropics
niches
desert
tolerance
species richness

Keywords

  • Community assembly
  • Intra-specific
  • Limiting similarity
  • Niche packing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Intra-specific and inter-specific variation in specific leaf area reveal the importance of abiotic and biotic drivers of species diversity across elevation and latitude. / Hulshof, Catherine M.; Violle, Cyrille; Spasojevic, Marko J.; Mcgill, Brian; Damschen, Ellen; Harrison, Susan; Enquist, Brian.

In: Journal of Vegetation Science, Vol. 24, No. 5, 09.2013, p. 921-931.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hulshof, Catherine M. ; Violle, Cyrille ; Spasojevic, Marko J. ; Mcgill, Brian ; Damschen, Ellen ; Harrison, Susan ; Enquist, Brian. / Intra-specific and inter-specific variation in specific leaf area reveal the importance of abiotic and biotic drivers of species diversity across elevation and latitude. In: Journal of Vegetation Science. 2013 ; Vol. 24, No. 5. pp. 921-931.
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T1 - Intra-specific and inter-specific variation in specific leaf area reveal the importance of abiotic and biotic drivers of species diversity across elevation and latitude

AU - Hulshof, Catherine M.

AU - Violle, Cyrille

AU - Spasojevic, Marko J.

AU - Mcgill, Brian

AU - Damschen, Ellen

AU - Harrison, Susan

AU - Enquist, Brian

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N2 - Questions: Are patterns of intra- and inter-specific functional trait variation consistent with greater abiotic filtering on community assembly at high latitudes and elevations, and greater biotic filtering at low latitudes and elevations? Locations: Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona; Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon. Methods: We measured woody plant species abundance and a key functional trait associated with competition for resources and environmental tolerance (specific leaf area, SLA) along elevational gradients in low-latitude tropical (Costa Rica), mid-latitude desert (Arizona) and high latitude mediterranean (southern Oregon) biomes. We explored patterns of abiotic and biotic filtering by comparing observed patterns of community-weighted means and variances along elevational and latitudinal gradients to those expected under random assembly. In addition, we related trait variability to niches and explored how total trait space and breadth vary across broad spatial gradients by quantifying the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation. Results: Both the community-wide mean and variance of SLA decreased with increasing latitude, consistent with greater abiotic filtering at higher latitudes. Further, low-elevation communities had higher trait variation than expected by chance, consistent with greater biotic filtering at low elevations. Finally, in the tropics and across latitude the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation was negatively correlated to species richness, which further suggests that biotic interactions influence plant assembly at low latitudes. Conclusions: Intra- and inter-specific patterns of SLA variation appeared broadly consistent with the idea that the relative strength of biotic and abiotic drivers on community assembly changes along elevational and latitudinal gradients; evidence for biotic drivers appeared more prominent at low latitudes and elevations and evidence for abiotic drivers appeared more prominent at high latitudes and elevations.

AB - Questions: Are patterns of intra- and inter-specific functional trait variation consistent with greater abiotic filtering on community assembly at high latitudes and elevations, and greater biotic filtering at low latitudes and elevations? Locations: Area de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica; Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona; Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon. Methods: We measured woody plant species abundance and a key functional trait associated with competition for resources and environmental tolerance (specific leaf area, SLA) along elevational gradients in low-latitude tropical (Costa Rica), mid-latitude desert (Arizona) and high latitude mediterranean (southern Oregon) biomes. We explored patterns of abiotic and biotic filtering by comparing observed patterns of community-weighted means and variances along elevational and latitudinal gradients to those expected under random assembly. In addition, we related trait variability to niches and explored how total trait space and breadth vary across broad spatial gradients by quantifying the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation. Results: Both the community-wide mean and variance of SLA decreased with increasing latitude, consistent with greater abiotic filtering at higher latitudes. Further, low-elevation communities had higher trait variation than expected by chance, consistent with greater biotic filtering at low elevations. Finally, in the tropics and across latitude the ratio of intra- to inter-specific variation was negatively correlated to species richness, which further suggests that biotic interactions influence plant assembly at low latitudes. Conclusions: Intra- and inter-specific patterns of SLA variation appeared broadly consistent with the idea that the relative strength of biotic and abiotic drivers on community assembly changes along elevational and latitudinal gradients; evidence for biotic drivers appeared more prominent at low latitudes and elevations and evidence for abiotic drivers appeared more prominent at high latitudes and elevations.

KW - Community assembly

KW - Intra-specific

KW - Limiting similarity

KW - Niche packing

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