Linking performance trait stability with species distribution: The case of Artemisia and its close relatives in northern China

Xuejun Yang, Zhenying Huang, David L Venable, Lei Wang, Keliang Zhang, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin, Johannes H C Cornelissen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Aims: Understanding the relationship between species and environments is at the heart of ecology and biology. Ranges of species depend strongly on environmental factors, but our limited understanding of relationships between range and trait stability of species across environments hampers our ability to predict their future ranges. Species that occur over a wide range (and thus have wide niche breadth) will have high variation in morpho-physiological traits in response to environmental conditions, thereby permitting stability of performance traits and enabling plants to survive in a range of environments. We hypothesized that species' niche breadth is negatively correlated with the rate of performance trait change along an environmental gradient. Location: Northern China. Methods: We analysed standing biomass and height of 48 species of Asteraceae (Artemisia and its close relatives) collected from 65 sites along an environmental gradient across northern China. Results: In support of our hypothesis, there were significant negative correlations between climatic niche breadth and rate of change in biomass, a performance trait, but not in height, which is both a morphological and a performance trait. Conclusions: These findings have implications for risk assessment of species under climate change and prediction of unknown distributions of species. They also offer a new avenue of research for species distribution models. We show that there were significant negative correlations between climatic niche breadth and rate of change in biomass, a performance trait, but not in height, which is both a morphological and performance trait. Our findings have implications for risk assessment of species under climate change and prediction of unknown distributions of species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vegetation Science
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Artemisia
  • Biomass
  • Environmental gradient
  • Height
  • Niche breadth
  • Performance trait
  • Species range

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science

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