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Abstract Detail

Recent Topics Posters

Echeverria-Londono, Susy [1], Enquist, Brian J [2], Neves, Danilo M [2], Violle, Cyrille [3], Kerkhoff, Andrew J [4].

Plant functional diversity and the biogeography of biomes in North and South America.

The concept of the biome has a long history dating back to Carl Ludwig Willdenow and Alexander von Humboldt. But while the association between climate and the structure and diversity of vegetation is old, scientists have only recently begun to develop a more synthetic understanding of biomes based on the evolution of plant biodiversity and community assembly. At the broadest scales, climate selects or filters species based on their functional attributes, and the resulting functional differences in dominant vegetation among biomes are critically important to modeling the global carbon cycle and the functioning of the Earth system. But despite functional differences between biomes, plant species from all environments have been shown to occupy a common set of global functional spectra, reflecting variation in overall plant size, leaf economics, and hydraulics. However, comprehensive measures of functional diversity and assessments of functional convergence and divergence have not been compared across biomes at continental to global scales.
Progress toward mapping botanical form and function from a biome-level has been limited in part by informatics challenges associated with standardizing and integrating large disparate datasets. Here, we examine distributions of functional diversity of plant species across the biomes of North and South America, based on distributional information for >80,000 vascular plant species and functional trait data for ca. 8,000 of those species. We show that despite progress in the compilation and synthesis of primary biodiversity data, significant knowledge shortfalls persist that may limit our ability to quantify the functional biodiversity of biomes on continental to global scales. Second, our analyses of the available data nevertheless show that all of the biomes in North and South America share a common pattern in which the most geographically common, widespread species in any biome tend to be functionally redundant while the most functionally distinctive species are invariably restricted in their distribution. Third, when only the widespread and functionally redundant species are considered, biomes can be more readily distinguished functionally, and patterns of dissimilarity between biomes appear to reflect a correspondence between climate and plant functional niche space - especially disparities in the proportion of woody vs. herbaceous species in tropical vs. temperate and cold biomes. Taken together, our results suggest that while the study of the functional diversity of biomes is still in its formative stages, further development of the field will yield insights linking evolution, biogeography, community assembly, and ecosystem function.

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1 - Kenyon College, Higley Hall, Gambier, OH, 43022, United States
2 - University of Arizona, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tucson, Arizona, USA
3 - CNRS, Université de Montpellier, Université Paul Valéry, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive , Montpellier, France
4 - Kenyon College, Department of Biology, Gambier, OH, USA

functional traits
the BIEN database
Functional diversity.

Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Session: P, Recent Topics Posters
Location: Grand Ballroom - Exhibit Hall/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PRT002
Abstract ID:1226
Candidate for Awards:None

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