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Iskalni niz: "ključne besede" (ecological gradients) .

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Are ecological niche optimum and width of forest plant species related to their functional traits?
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, Aleksander Marinšek, Valerija Babij, 2023, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: The ecological niche is one of the central concepts in plant ecology. Understanding which biological traits influence plant niches remains limited, preventing large-scale generalizations. Using a representative pool of 94 herb-layer species frequently occurring in the Slovenian forest vegetation types and an extensive suite of 28 plant functional traits, we tested whether traits serve as predictors for the optimum and width of plant species ecological niche. Niche optimum (mean) and niche width (standard deviation) of each species were derived from community-level ecological indicator values for six environmental gradients, i.e., light, temperature, continentality, moisture, soil reaction and nutrients. We investigated relationships between niche parameters and functional traits through a random forest analysis to account for relatively high trait correlations. Our results suggest that niche optimum and width of forest plant species are related to their functional traits. The two niche parameters were best explained by similar set of traits; however, the relative importance of traits differed substantially. Traits associated with disturbances (frequency and severity), plant dispersal (seed mass, dispersal syndrome), leaf economics spectrum (specific leaf area) and life strategy (CSR scores) showed the highest overall significance in predicting niche optimum and width. Functional traits were, on average, better predictors for niche optimum (average variance explained across all six environmental factors: 20.2%) than for niche width (average variance explained: 7.7%). Intraspecific trait variability, not considered in this study, likely plays an important role in case of niche width. The analyses suggest that, while not all traits impact niche parameters to the same degree, it is crucial to consider traits representing different ecological dimensions and revealing leading patterns of trait coordination. We recommend that the relative importance of traits for species niche parameters should be tested on a larger spatial scale using broader pool of forest understory plants across Europe.
Ključne besede: ecological gradients, Ellenberg indicator values, Slovenian forest types, trait-environment relationship, understory plants
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 09.03.2023; Ogledov: 223; Prenosov: 94
.pdf Celotno besedilo (2,37 MB)
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Patterns of understory community assembly and plant trait-environment relationships in temperate SE European forests
Janez Kermavnar, Lado Kutnar, 2020, izvirni znanstveni članek

Povzetek: We analyzed variation in the functional composition and diversity of understory plant communities across different forest vegetation types in Slovenia. The study area comprises 10 representative forest sites covering broad gradients of environmental conditions (altitude, geology, light availability, soil type and reaction, nutrient availability, soil moisture), stand structural features and community attributes. The mean and variation of the trait values were quantified by community-weighted means and functional dispersion for four key plant functional traits: plant height, seed mass, specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content. At each study site, forest vegetation was surveyed at two different spatial scales (4 and 100 m2 ) in order to infer scale-dependent assembly rules. Patterns of community assembly were tested with a null model approach. We found that both trait means and diversity values responded to conspicuous gradients in environmental conditions and species composition across the studied forests. Our results mainly support the idea of abiotic filtering: more stressful environmental conditions (e.g., high altitude, low soil pH and low nutrient content) were occupied by communities of low functional diversity (trait convergence), which suggests a selective effect for species with traits adapted to such harsh conditions. However, trait convergence was also detected in some more resource-rich forest sites (e.g., low altitude, high soil productivity), most likely due to the presence of competitive understory species with high abundance domination. This could, at least to some extent, indicate the filtering effect of competitive interactions. Overall, we observed weak and inconsistent patterns regarding the impact of spatial scale, suggesting that similar assembly mechanisms are operating at both investigated spatial scales. Our findings contribute to the baseline understanding of the role of both abiotic and biotic constraints in forest community assembly, as evidenced by the non-random patterns in the functional structure of distinct temperate forest understories.
Ključne besede: functional composition, functional diversity, ecological gradients, abiotic filtering, trait convergence, trait divergence, spatial scale, forest ground-layer vegetation, Slovenia
Objavljeno v DiRROS: 26.05.2020; Ogledov: 1649; Prenosov: 1105
.pdf Celotno besedilo (4,12 MB)
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