Revisiting darwins hypothesis: Does greater intraspecific variability increase species ecological breadth?

Colby B. Sides, Brian Enquist, James J. Ebersole, Marielle N. Smith, Amanda N. Henderson, Lindsey L. Sloat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Premise of the study: Darwin first proposed that species with larger ecological breadth have greater phenotypic variation. We tested this hypothesis by comparing intraspecific variation in specific leaf area (SLA) to species' local elevational range and by assessing how external (abiotic) filters may influence observed differences in ecological breadth among species. Understanding the patterns of individual variation within and between populations will help evaluate differing hypotheses for structuring of communities and distribution of species. Methods: We selected 21 species with varying elevational ranges and compared the coefficient of variation of SLA for each species against its local elevational range. We examined the influence of external filters on local trait composition by determining if intraspecific changes in SLA with elevation have the same direction and similar rates of change as the change in community mean SLA value. Key results: In support of Darwin's hypothesis, we found a positive relationship between species' coefficient of variation for SLA with species' local elevational range. Intraspecific changes in SLA had the same sign, but generally lower magnitude than the community mean SLA. Conclusions: The results indicate that wide-ranging species are indeed characterized by greater intraspecific variation and that species' phenotypes shift along environmental gradients in the same direction as the community phenotypes. However, across species, the rate of intraspecific trait change, reflecting plastic and/or adaptive changes across populations, is limited and prevents species from adjusting to environmental gradients as quickly as interspecific changes resulting from community assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume101
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Fingerprint

leaf area
Phenotype
Population
Plastics
phenotype
intraspecific variation
environmental gradient
Direction compound
phenotypic variation
filter
biogeography
plastics
individual variation
plastic

Keywords

  • Community assembly
  • Functional traits
  • Intraspecific variation
  • Species ecological breadth
  • Specific leaf area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics

Cite this

Revisiting darwins hypothesis : Does greater intraspecific variability increase species ecological breadth? / Sides, Colby B.; Enquist, Brian; Ebersole, James J.; Smith, Marielle N.; Henderson, Amanda N.; Sloat, Lindsey L.

In: American Journal of Botany, Vol. 101, No. 1, 01.2014, p. 56-62.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sides, Colby B. ; Enquist, Brian ; Ebersole, James J. ; Smith, Marielle N. ; Henderson, Amanda N. ; Sloat, Lindsey L. / Revisiting darwins hypothesis : Does greater intraspecific variability increase species ecological breadth?. In: American Journal of Botany. 2014 ; Vol. 101, No. 1. pp. 56-62.
@article{753c0989d9484bd7aae9ac0b020e9dc4,
title = "Revisiting darwins hypothesis: Does greater intraspecific variability increase species ecological breadth?",
abstract = "Premise of the study: Darwin first proposed that species with larger ecological breadth have greater phenotypic variation. We tested this hypothesis by comparing intraspecific variation in specific leaf area (SLA) to species' local elevational range and by assessing how external (abiotic) filters may influence observed differences in ecological breadth among species. Understanding the patterns of individual variation within and between populations will help evaluate differing hypotheses for structuring of communities and distribution of species. Methods: We selected 21 species with varying elevational ranges and compared the coefficient of variation of SLA for each species against its local elevational range. We examined the influence of external filters on local trait composition by determining if intraspecific changes in SLA with elevation have the same direction and similar rates of change as the change in community mean SLA value. Key results: In support of Darwin's hypothesis, we found a positive relationship between species' coefficient of variation for SLA with species' local elevational range. Intraspecific changes in SLA had the same sign, but generally lower magnitude than the community mean SLA. Conclusions: The results indicate that wide-ranging species are indeed characterized by greater intraspecific variation and that species' phenotypes shift along environmental gradients in the same direction as the community phenotypes. However, across species, the rate of intraspecific trait change, reflecting plastic and/or adaptive changes across populations, is limited and prevents species from adjusting to environmental gradients as quickly as interspecific changes resulting from community assembly.",
keywords = "Community assembly, Functional traits, Intraspecific variation, Species ecological breadth, Specific leaf area",
author = "Sides, {Colby B.} and Brian Enquist and Ebersole, {James J.} and Smith, {Marielle N.} and Henderson, {Amanda N.} and Sloat, {Lindsey L.}",
year = "2014",
month = "1",
doi = "10.3732/ajb.1300284",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "101",
pages = "56--62",
journal = "American Journal of Botany",
issn = "0002-9122",
publisher = "Botanical Society of America Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Revisiting darwins hypothesis

T2 - Does greater intraspecific variability increase species ecological breadth?

AU - Sides, Colby B.

AU - Enquist, Brian

AU - Ebersole, James J.

AU - Smith, Marielle N.

AU - Henderson, Amanda N.

AU - Sloat, Lindsey L.

PY - 2014/1

Y1 - 2014/1

N2 - Premise of the study: Darwin first proposed that species with larger ecological breadth have greater phenotypic variation. We tested this hypothesis by comparing intraspecific variation in specific leaf area (SLA) to species' local elevational range and by assessing how external (abiotic) filters may influence observed differences in ecological breadth among species. Understanding the patterns of individual variation within and between populations will help evaluate differing hypotheses for structuring of communities and distribution of species. Methods: We selected 21 species with varying elevational ranges and compared the coefficient of variation of SLA for each species against its local elevational range. We examined the influence of external filters on local trait composition by determining if intraspecific changes in SLA with elevation have the same direction and similar rates of change as the change in community mean SLA value. Key results: In support of Darwin's hypothesis, we found a positive relationship between species' coefficient of variation for SLA with species' local elevational range. Intraspecific changes in SLA had the same sign, but generally lower magnitude than the community mean SLA. Conclusions: The results indicate that wide-ranging species are indeed characterized by greater intraspecific variation and that species' phenotypes shift along environmental gradients in the same direction as the community phenotypes. However, across species, the rate of intraspecific trait change, reflecting plastic and/or adaptive changes across populations, is limited and prevents species from adjusting to environmental gradients as quickly as interspecific changes resulting from community assembly.

AB - Premise of the study: Darwin first proposed that species with larger ecological breadth have greater phenotypic variation. We tested this hypothesis by comparing intraspecific variation in specific leaf area (SLA) to species' local elevational range and by assessing how external (abiotic) filters may influence observed differences in ecological breadth among species. Understanding the patterns of individual variation within and between populations will help evaluate differing hypotheses for structuring of communities and distribution of species. Methods: We selected 21 species with varying elevational ranges and compared the coefficient of variation of SLA for each species against its local elevational range. We examined the influence of external filters on local trait composition by determining if intraspecific changes in SLA with elevation have the same direction and similar rates of change as the change in community mean SLA value. Key results: In support of Darwin's hypothesis, we found a positive relationship between species' coefficient of variation for SLA with species' local elevational range. Intraspecific changes in SLA had the same sign, but generally lower magnitude than the community mean SLA. Conclusions: The results indicate that wide-ranging species are indeed characterized by greater intraspecific variation and that species' phenotypes shift along environmental gradients in the same direction as the community phenotypes. However, across species, the rate of intraspecific trait change, reflecting plastic and/or adaptive changes across populations, is limited and prevents species from adjusting to environmental gradients as quickly as interspecific changes resulting from community assembly.

KW - Community assembly

KW - Functional traits

KW - Intraspecific variation

KW - Species ecological breadth

KW - Specific leaf area

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84892615174&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84892615174&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.3732/ajb.1300284

DO - 10.3732/ajb.1300284

M3 - Article

C2 - 24343815

AN - SCOPUS:84892615174

VL - 101

SP - 56

EP - 62

JO - American Journal of Botany

JF - American Journal of Botany

SN - 0002-9122

IS - 1

ER -