Functional trait trade-offs define plant population stability across different biomes

Conti, Luisa, Valencia, Enrique, Galland, Thomas, Gotzenberger, Lars, Leps, Jan, E-Vojtko, Anna, Carmona, Carlos P, Majekova, Maria, Danihelka, Jiri, Dengler, Juergen
et al (show 41 more authors) (2023) Functional trait trade-offs define plant population stability across different biomes. PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, 290 (2001). 20230344-.

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Ecological theory posits that temporal stability patterns in plant populations are associated with differences in species' ecological strategies. However, empirical evidence is lacking about which traits, or trade-offs, underlie species stability, especially across different biomes. We compiled a worldwide collection of long-term permanent vegetation records (greater than 7000 plots from 78 datasets) from a large range of habitats which we combined with existing trait databases. We tested whether the observed inter-annual variability in species abundance (coefficient of variation) was related to multiple individual traits. We found that populations with greater leaf dry matter content and seed mass were more stable over time. Despite the variability explained by these traits being low, their effect was consistent across different datasets. Other traits played a significant, albeit weaker, role in species stability, and the inclusion of multi-variate axes or phylogeny did not substantially modify nor improve predictions. These results provide empirical evidence and highlight the relevance of specific ecological trade-offs, i.e. in different resource-use and dispersal strategies, for plant populations stability across multiple biomes. Further research is, however, necessary to integrate and evaluate the role of other specific traits, often not available in databases, and intraspecific trait variability in modulating species stability.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: acquisitive, conservative, dispersal, long-term studies, temporal patterns, variability
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2023 09:10
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 00:05
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2023.0344
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