Publication details

Environmental drivers of taxonomic and functional turnover of tree assemblages in Europe



Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Oikos
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords beta-diversity; forest ecology; functional diversity; macroecology; plant functional traits; woody species
Description Understanding how species turnover responds to environmental change may provide insights into the ecological factors influencing biogeographical patterns. Here, I examined geographic patterns in taxonomic and functional turnover of tree assemblages in Europe and compared the influence of environmental factors on turnover. I conducted a principal component analysis with nine above- and below-ground plant traits for 210 tree species. I used the resulting four principal components (82% of the variance) to create five functional dendrograms considering all trait dimensions together and individually. Further, I used species composition and the functional dendrograms to calculate pairwise taxonomic and functional turnover between tree assemblages in 100 x 100 km grid cells across Europe. To assess the influence of temperature, precipitation, precipitation seasonality, soil pH and geographic distance on taxonomic and functional turnover, I conducted multiple regression on distance matrices (MRM). I also compared the slope of the relationship between functional turnover and environmental distance among trait dimensions to detect what ecological strategies may be more sensitive to environmental changes. I found that mean taxonomic and functional turnover was particularly high in lowland areas of the Mediterranean Basin. Geographic patterns of individual trait dimensions largely reproduced those considering all trait dimensions together, additionally revealing some regional differences. MRM explained a similar fraction of the variation in taxonomic and functional turnover. The influence of environmental distance was stronger for trait dimensions related to tree size and woodiness than for trait dimensions related to the leaf and root economics. I conclude that geographic patterns in the turnover of tree assemblages in Europe coincide with major biome transitions. Deterministic assembly processes act differently on key ecological strategies of tree assemblages at the continental scale.
Related projects:

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.

More info