Patterns and drivers of plant functional group dominance across the Western Hemisphere: A macroecological re-assessment based on a massive botanical dataset

Kristine Engemann, Brody Sandel, Brian Enquist, Peter Møller Jørgensen, Nathan Kraft, Aaron Marcuse-Kubitza, Brian Mcgill, Naia Morueta-Holme, Robert K. Peet, Cyrille Violle, Susan Wiser, Jens Christian Svenning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plant functional group dominance has been linked to climate, topography and anthropogenic factors. Here, we assess existing theory linking functional group dominance patterns to their drivers by quantifying the spatial distribution of plant functional groups at a 100-km grid scale. We use a standardized plant species occurrence dataset of unprecedented size covering the entire New World. Functional group distributions were estimated from 3648533 standardized occurrence records for a total of 83854 vascular plant species, extracted from the Botanical Information and Ecology Network (BIEN) database. Seven plant functional groups were considered, describing major differences in structure and function: epiphytes; climbers; ferns; herbs; shrubs; coniferous trees; and angiosperm trees. Two measures of dominance (relative number of occurrences and relative species richness) were analysed against a range of hypothesized predictors. The functional groups showed distinct geographical patterns of dominance across the New World. Temperature seasonality and annual precipitation were most frequently selected, supporting existing hypotheses for the geographical dominance of each functional group. Human influence and topography were secondarily important. Our results support the prediction that future climate change and anthropogenic pressures could shift geographical patterns in dominance of plant functional groups, with probable consequences for ecosystem functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-160
Number of pages20
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume180
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Keywords

  • Anthropocene
  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeography
  • Boosted regression trees
  • Climate change
  • Disturbance
  • Macroecology
  • Model averaging
  • Plant functional groups
  • Vegetation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science

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    Engemann, K., Sandel, B., Enquist, B., Jørgensen, P. M., Kraft, N., Marcuse-Kubitza, A., Mcgill, B., Morueta-Holme, N., Peet, R. K., Violle, C., Wiser, S., & Svenning, J. C. (2016). Patterns and drivers of plant functional group dominance across the Western Hemisphere: A macroecological re-assessment based on a massive botanical dataset. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 180(2), 141-160. https://doi.org/10.1111/boj.12362