5 years ago

Multiple mechanisms of early plant community assembly with stochasticity driving the process.

Thóra Ellen Thórhallsdóttir, Bryndís Marteinsdóttir, Kristín Svavarsdóttir
Initial plant establishment is one of the most critical phases in ecosystem development, where an early suite of physical (environmental filtering), biological (seed limitation, species interactions) and stochastic factors may affect successional trajectories and rates. While functional traits are commonly used to study processes that influence plant community assembly in late successional communities, few studies have applied them to primary succession. The objective here was to determine the importance of these factors in shaping early plant community assembly on a glacial outwash plain, Skeiðarársandur, in SE Iceland using a trait based approach. We used data on vascular plant assemblages at two different spatial scales (community and neighbourhood) sampled in 2005 and 2012, and compiled a dataset on seven functional traits linked to species dispersal abilities, establishment and persistence for all species within these assemblages. Trait-based null model analyses were used to determine the processes that influenced plant community assembly from the regional species pool into local communities, and to determine if the importance of these processes in community assembly was dependent on local environment or changed with time. On the community scale, for most traits, random processes dominated the assembly from the regional species pool. However, in some communities, there was evidence of non - random assembly in relation to traits linked to species dispersal abilities, persistence and establishment. On the neighborhood scale, assembly was mostly random. The relative importance of different processes varied spatially and temporally and the variation was linked to local soil conditions. While stochasticity dominated assembly patterns of our early successional communities, there was evidence of both seed limitation and environmental filtering. Our results indicated that as soil conditions improved, environmental constraints on assembly became weaker and the assembly became more dependent on species availability. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2079

DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2079

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.