J Plant Ecol ›› 2014, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (4): 321-329.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtt048

• Research Articles •     Next Articles

Soil conditions and phylogenetic relatedness influence total community trait space during early plant succession

Werner Ulrich1,*, Marcin Piwczyński1, Markus K. Zaplata2,3, Susanne Winter4, Wolfgang Schaaf5 and Anton Fischer6   

  1. 1 Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Lwowska 1, PL 87–100 Toruń, Poland; 2 Center Landscape Development and Mining Landscapes (FZLB), Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, D-03046 Cottbus, Germany; 3 Center of Life and Food Sciences, Technische Universität München, Emil-Ramann-Straße 6, D-85354 Freising, Germany; 4 Technische Universität Dresden, Pienner Straße 8, D-01737 Tharandt, Germany; 5 Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Konrad-Wachsmann-Allee 6, D-03046 Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany; 6 Center of Life and Food Sciences, Technische Universität München, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, D-85354 Freising, Germany
  • Received:2013-03-26 Accepted:2013-08-17 Published:2014-07-22
  • Contact: Ulrich, Werner

Abstract: Aims The total space of traits covered by the members of plant communities is an important parameter of ecosystem functioning and complexity. We trace the variability of trait space during early plant succession and ask how trait space co-varies with phylogenetic community structure and soil conditions. Particularly, we are interested in the small-scale variability in trait space and the influence of biotic and abiotic filters.
Methods We use data on species richness and soil conditions from the first 7 years of initial succession of an artificial catchment in north-eastern Germany. Total functional attribute diversity serves as a proxy to total trait space.
Important findings Total trait space steadily increased during succession. We observed high small-scale variability in total trait space that was positively correlated with species richness and phylogenetic segregation and negatively correlated with total plant cover. Trait space increased with soil carbonate content, while pH and the fraction of sandy material behaved indifferently. Our results indicate that during early succession, habitat filtering processes gain importance leading to a lesser increase in trait space than expected from the increase in species richness alone.

Key words: primary succession, trait space, phylogenetic signal, habitat filtering, species co-occurrence, null model

摘要:
Aims The total space of traits covered by the members of plant communities is an important parameter of ecosystem functioning and complexity. We trace the variability of trait space during early plant succession and ask how trait space co-varies with phylogenetic community structure and soil conditions. Particularly, we are interested in the small-scale variability in trait space and the influence of biotic and abiotic filters.
Methods We use data on species richness and soil conditions from the first 7 years of initial succession of an artificial catchment in north-eastern Germany. Total functional attribute diversity serves as a proxy to total trait space.
Important findings Total trait space steadily increased during succession. We observed high small-scale variability in total trait space that was positively correlated with species richness and phylogenetic segregation and negatively correlated with total plant cover. Trait space increased with soil carbonate content, while pH and the fraction of sandy material behaved indifferently. Our results indicate that during early succession, habitat filtering processes gain importance leading to a lesser increase in trait space than expected from the increase in species richness alone.