Floral colour versus phylogeny in structuring subalpine flowering communities

Floral colour versus phylogeny in structuring subalpine flowering communities

J. R. McEwen and J. C. Vamosi

What is the relationship between community structure, phylogeny and traits, including ecological traits? How does this affect speciation, adaptive radiation and invasive species? What is the role of labile or plastic traits?

Important to any of these studies is an accurate phylogeny which includes branch length data which means a reliable molecular clock.(2)  Another is the ability to get the abundance of each species in a community.(3) Also dispersion can be a problem. Even small dispersion can be very large over species time.

This study shows that floral color is a labile trait. In addition, there are recommendations on how to study pollinator relationships based on the current data. Big advantage to me in that the data was analyzed in R and other open source software. Plant phylogenies are now in a database and plants are easy to count. Dispersion of herbaceous plants is 99% within 15 meters. That remaining 1% over thousands or millions of years is effectively continent wide.

  1. Niche Evolution and Adaptive Radiation: Testing the Order of Trait Divergence – D. D. Ackerly, D. W. Schwilk and C. O. Webb
  2. Emerging patterns in the comparative analysis of phylogenetic community structure – S. M. Vamosi, S. B. Heard, J. C. Vamosi and C. O. Webb
  3. The merging of community ecology and phylogenetic biology – J. Cavender-Bares, K. H. Kozak, P. V. A.
    Fine and S. W. Kembel
  4. Absence of phylogenetic signal in the niche structure of meadow plant communities – J. Silvertown, K. McConway, D. Gowing, M. Dodd, M. F. Fay, J. A. Joseph and K. Dolphin

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