Publication details

The relationship between niche breadth and range size of beech (Fagus) species worldwide


CAI Qiong WELK Erik JI Chengjun FANG Wenjing SABATINI Francesco M. ZHU Jianxiao ZHU Jiangling TANG Zhiyao ATTORRE Fabio CAMPOS Juan A. ČARNI Andraž CHYTRÝ Milan ÇOBAN Süleyman DENGLER Jürgen DOLEZAL Jiri FIELD Richard FRINK József P. GHOLIZADEH Hamid INDREICA Adrian JANDT Ute KARGER Dirk N. LENOIR Jonathan PEET Robert K. PIELECH Remigiusz DE SANCTIS Michele SCHRODT Franziska SVENNING Jens-Christian TANG Cindy Q. TSIRIPIDIS Ioannis WILLNER Wolfgang YASUHIRO Kubota FANG Jingyun BRUELHEIDE Helge

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Biogeography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords climatic niche; co-occurrence data; deciduous species; Fagus; geographical range size; niche breadth; niche evolution; phylogenetic signal; temperate forest flora; vegetation-plot data
Description Aim: This work explores whether the commonly observed positive range size-niche breadth relationship exists for Fagus, one of the most dominant and widespread broad-leaved deciduous tree genera in temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Additionally, we ask whether the 10 extant Fagus species' niche breadths and climatic tolerances are under phylogenetic control. Location: Northern Hemisphere temperate forests. Taxon: Fagus L. Methods: Combining the global vegetation database sPlot with Chinese vegetation data, we extracted 107,758 releves containing Fagus species. We estimated biotic and climatic niche breadths per species using plot-based co-occurrence data and a resource-based approach, respectively. We examined the relationships of these estimates with range size and tested for their phylogenetic signal, prior to which a Random Forest (RF) analysis was applied to test which climatic properties are most conserved across the Fagus species. Results: Neither biotic niche breadth nor climatic niche breadth was correlated with range size, and the two niche breadths were incongruent as well. Notably, the widespread North American F. grandifolia had a distinctly smaller biotic niche breadth than the Chinese Fagus species (F. engleriana, F. hayatae, F. longipetiolata and F. lucida) with restricted distributions in isolated mountains. The RF analysis revealed that cold tolerance did not differ among the 10 species, and thus may represent an ancestral, fixed trait. In addition, neither biotic nor climatic niche breadths are under phylogenetic control. Main Conclusions: We interpret the lack of a general positive range size-niche breadth relationship within the genus Fagus as a result of the widespread distribution, high among-region variation in available niche space, landscape heterogeneity and Quaternary history. The results hold when estimating niche sizes either by fine-scale co-occurrence data or coarse-scale climate data, suggesting a mechanistic link between factors operating across spatial scales. Besides, there was no evidence for diverging ecological specialization within the genus Fagus.

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