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Erik Jeppesen

Environmental and spatial drivers for wetland plant communities in a freshwater lake: Reduced coupling of species and functional turnover

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  • Hui Fu, Hunan Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Ye Zhou
  • Guixiang Yuan, Hunan Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Hui Peng, Hunan Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Aiping Wu, Hunan Agricultural University
  • ,
  • Wei Li, Nanchang Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Erik Jeppesen

Disentangling the contributions of environmental gradients and spatial distance as species distribution drivers is a crucial topic of community ecology. Here, we sampled wetland plant communities at 779 plots from 52 sites and measured 12 key functional traits of 52 plant species in Poyang Lake, China. Using the generalized dissimilarity model (GDM), we examined which environmental variables and geographic distances best predicted the variations in community turnover (Simpson dissimilarity coefficients) at two spatial scales (i.e., plot and site) and compared the turnover patterns between species and functional approaches. We found that both species and functional turnover were typically higher at plot than site scale and that species turnover were higher than functional turnover across the studied scales. At plot scale, the GDM results showed that the best predictor of species turnover was elevation followed by soil moisture and geographic distance, while geographic distance was the best predictor at site scale. However, functional turnover was weak or showed no remarkable responses to either environmental variables or geographic distance. Notably, the communities showed a very high functional redundancy with slow shifts across the environmental gradients at both scales studied. This strongly suggests that most species were functionally redundant and that species replacement across environmental gradients and the two studied spatial scales is restricted to functionally identical species in the Poyang Lake wetland. Our results demonstrated that the coupling between plant species and functional turnover is reduced, which may allow the wetland plant community to maintain its ecosystem functioning when subjected to water level fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106092
JournalEcological Engineering
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

    Research areas

  • Beta diversity, Decoupling of species and functions, Functional redundancy, Poyang Lake wetland, Spatial scale

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