Data_Sheet_1_Functional Diversity in Ferns Is Driven by Species Richness Rather Than by Environmental Constraints.docx (1.52 MB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Functional Diversity in Ferns Is Driven by Species Richness Rather Than by Environmental Constraints.docx

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posted on 11.01.2021, 04:10 by Daniela Aros-Mualin, Sarah Noben, Dirk N. Karger, César I. Carvajal-Hernández, Laura Salazar, Adriana Hernández-Rojas, Jürgen Kluge, Michael A. Sundue, Marcus Lehnert, Dietmar Quandt, Michael Kessler

Functional traits determine how species interact with their abiotic and biotic environment. In turn, functional diversity describes how assemblages of species as a whole are adapted to their environment, which also determines how they might react to changing conditions. To fully understand functional diversity, it is fundamental to (a) disentangle the influences of environmental filtering and species richness from each other, (b) assess if the trait space saturates at high levels of species richness, and (c) understand how changes in species numbers affect the relative importance of the trait niche expansion and packing. In the present study, we determined functional diversity of fern assemblages by describing morphological traits related to resource acquisition along four tropical elevational transects with different environmental conditions and species richness. We used several functional diversity indices and their standardized effect size to consider different aspects of functional diversity. We contrasted these aspects of functional diversity with climate data and species richness using linear models and linear mixed models. Our results show that functional morphological trait diversity was primarily driven by species richness and only marginally by environmental conditions. Moreover, increasing species richness contributed progressively to packing of the morphological niche space, while at the same time decreasing morphological expansion until a saturation point was reached. Overall, our findings suggest that the density of co-occurring species is the fundamental driving force of morphological niche structure, and environmental conditions have only an indirect influence on fern resource acquisition strategies.

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