Cite as:
Haukamp, H. &amp; University of Marburg (2014): <b>Phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical tree communities along an elevation gradient</b> University of Marburg, <i>master thesis</i>

Resource Description

Title: Phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical tree communities along an elevation gradient
FOR816dw ID: 1316
Publication Date: 2014-09-23
License and Usage Rights: PAK 823-825 data user agreement. (
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Helen Haukamp
Projected climate warming will potentially cause profound modifications of ecosystems worldwide, including large redistribution of biodiversity. Among the ecosystems that react most sensitive to climatic changes are tropical mountain rain forests. An essential step to conserve these ecosystems is to study the response of their biodiversity to changing climate conditions. For this purpose elevational gradients are particular suitable. Furthermore, it is important to consider a topographical gradient because of the rugged mountainous study area. Species richness, the commonly used measure for biodiversity, only describes parts of biodiversity. Therefore, it is crucial to additionally study phylogenetic and functional diversity to detect impacts of climate change on ecosystem functions. Hence, the aim of the study was to investigate the influence of an elevational and a topographical gradient on species richness, phylogenetic diversity (PD) and functional composition of two traits, specific leaf area (SLA) and wood specific gravity (WSG), taking tree communities as example. Additionally, I measured the phylogenetic signal of the traits to expose if they are conserved or convergent. By the combination of PD and trait based methods community assembly patterns were detected and furthermore, it was tested if PD mirrors the functional diversity. The results showed no change in rarefied species richness with elevation. In contrast, PD increased from low to mid elevation and decreased from mid to high elevation. The topographical gradient also had an influence on PD. The functional composition of SLA and WSG changed with elevation and partly with topographic position. While SLA values decreased from low to high elevation and were lower on the upper slopes at mid and high elevation, WSG values at high elevation were overall high with a lower range but did not change with topographic position. Both traits appeared to be convergent. Considering the detected trait convergence, it is likely that competitive interactions shape the community at low elevation whereas at high elevation environmental filtering probably is the main assembly process. Furthermore, filtering effects on the upper slope at mid elevation could be exposed. The functional composition of SLA and WSG indicated biotic filters, like competition for light, at low elevation and abiotic stress filters at high elevation. Moreover, a filtering effect of the topographical gradient on SLA on the upper slope at mid and high elevation was detected. Overall, the PD uncovered more facets of the biodiversity than species richness. However, the addition of trait based methods is important to confirm assembly patterns detected by PD and to detect further underlying processes.
| tree | diversity | elevation | phylogenetic | functional |
Literature type specific fields:
Degree: master
Degree Institution: University of Marburg
Total Pages: 49
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Nina Farwig
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