A signal of competitive dominance in mid-latitude herbaceous plant communities
EntityUAM. Departamento de Análisis Económico: Economía Cuantitativa
PublisherThe Royal Society Publishing
10.1098/rsos.201361Royal Society Open Science 8.9 (2021): 201361
Funded byThis work was funded by the Spanish ‘Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad’ under the projects CGL2012-39964 and CGL2015-69043-P (D.A. and J.A.C.), by the Spanish ‘Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades’ under the project PGC2018-096577-B-I00 (D.A. and J.A.C.), and the Ramón y Cajal Fellowship program (RYC-2010-06545, D.A.). J.A.C. acknowledges partial financial support from the Department of Applied Mathematics (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid). S.C. acknowledges financial support from Banco Santander through grant no. PR87/19-22582
Subjectsbiogeographic patterns; ecological community dynamics; null hypotheses testing; plant diversity; species coexistence; stochastic Markov processes in continuous time; Economía
Rights© 2021 The Authors
Esta obra está bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución 4.0 Internacional.
Understanding the main determinants of species coexistence across space and time is a central question in ecology. However, ecologists still know little about the scales and conditions at which biotic interactions matter and how these interact with the environment to structure species assemblages. Here we use recent theoretical developments to analyse plant distribution and trait data across Europe and find that plant height clustering is related to both evapotranspiration (ET) and gross primary productivity. This clustering is a signal of interspecies competition between plants, which is most evident in mid-latitude ecoregions, where conditions for growth (reflected in actual ET rates and gross primary productivities) are optimal. Away from this optimum, climate severity probably overrides the effect of competition, or other interactions become increasingly important. Our approach bridges the gap between species-rich competition theories and large-scale species distribution data analysis
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