Abstract Detail


Borokini, Israel [1], Allen, Julie [2], Smith, Stephen [3], Guralnick, Robert [4], Soltis, Pamela [5], Soltis, Douglas [6], Laffan, Shawn [7], Mishler, Brent [8].

Trait diversity – a novel phylodiversity measure to investigate eco-evolutionary mechanisms of community assembly.

In recent years, efforts have intensified to integrate ecology with phylogeny to understand natural processes that influence community assemblages in time and space. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) is defined as the sum of branch lengths connecting a set of terminal taxa from the base of a phylogeny. It provides a better biodiversity metric than species richness because it incorporates evolutionary history and is useful for many purposes, including ecological studies of co-existence in a given location. Branch lengths can be represented in many different ways on the same topology; these different ways have been called “facets” of phylodiversity. Typically, PD has been measured using three facets: (1) branches scaled by molecular divergence (phylogram), (2) branches considered of equal length (cladogram), or (3) branches that are time-calibrated (chronogram). Comparisons among these facets, along with statistical tests using spatial randomizations, have provided insights on geographic areas that contain significant concentrations of either short or long branches, or of either paleo- or neo-endemism. Therefore, PD and related metrics have become vital tools in spatial phylogenetic studies designed to answer questions in evolutionary biology, biogeography, systematics, ecology, and conservation science. To further enrich these spatial phylogenetic methods, we have developed a new metric called trait diversity (TD), which is PD measured on a phylogram where the branch lengths represent estimated changes in functional traits. Integrating this new facet in comparison with other facets can inform the core questions of community phylogenetics, by providing means to test the ecological hypotheses that explain community assembly. TD can be compared statistically with the three facets of phylodiversity mentioned above to investigate potential relationships between TD and molecular divergence, lineage diversification, and evolutionary time. For example, significantly low TD in co-occurring lineages could be indicative either of habitat filtering (if combined with low PD) or of in situ trait convergence (if combined with high PD). Such comparisons could be related to biogeographical events or climatic factors and used to explain processes of community assembly and to forecast the role of phenotypic traits in climate change adaptation. This new metric was tested across three different spatial scales, spanning from standing vegetation in 1 m2 plots in the Disney Wilderness long-term NEON site to the flora of Florida in 4 km × 4 km grid cells, and to the entire North American flora in 50 km × 50 km grid cells. Key findings from this study also include recommendations for handling missing trait data and combining discrete and continuous variables.

1 - University Of California, Berkeley, Integrative Biology, University And Jepson Herbaria, 3040 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States
2 - University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Biology, 1664 N Virginia Street, Reno, NV, 89557, USA
3 - 1105 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, United States
4 - Florida Museum Of Natural History, 358 Dickinson Hall, University O, 358 Dickinson Hall, University Of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
5 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Gainesville, FL, 32611.0, United States
6 - University Of Florida, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, University Of Florida Gainesville, Florida Museum Of Natural History, Dickinson Hall, Gainesville, FL, 32611, United States
7 - The University of New South Wales, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Kensington, New South Wales, 2033, Australia
8 - University Of California, Berkeley, Department Of Integrative Biology, University And Jepson Herbaria, 1001 Valley Life Sciences Building, # 2465, Berkeley, CA, 94720, United States

trait diversity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: PHYLO I003
Abstract ID:50
Candidate for Awards:None

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