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Oecologia. 2018 Oct;188(2):547-557. doi: 10.1007/s00442-018-4230-3. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Shifts in functional trait-species abundance relationships over secondary subalpine meadow succession in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

Zhang H1,2, John R3, Zhu S1,2, Liu H1,2, Xu Q1,4, Qi W5, Liu K5, Chen HYH6, Ye Q7,8.

Author information

1
Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, 510650, China.
2
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, 510650, China.
3
Department of Biological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, Mohanpur, West Bengal, 741 246, India.
4
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, 19A Yuquan Road, Beijing, 100049, People's Republic of China.
5
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, 730000, China.
6
Faculty of Natural Resources Management, Lake head University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5E1, Canada.
7
Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of Degraded Ecosystems, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, 510650, China. qye@scbg.ac.cn.
8
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Botany, South China Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 723 Xingke Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, 510650, China. qye@scbg.ac.cn.

Abstract

Although trait-based processes of community assembly during secondary succession invokes multiple factors that ultimately determine the presence or absence of a species, little is known regarding the impacts of functional traits on species abundance in successional plant communities. Here in species-rich subalpine secondary successional meadows of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, we measured photosynthesis rate and leaf proline content that are related to plant growth and abiotic stress resistance, respectively, and seed germination rate that is closely correlated with plant germination strategy to test their influence on species abundance during succession. We used a linear mixed effects model framework to examine the shifts in trait-abundance relationships and the correlations among these three traits in successional communities. We observed significant shifts in trait-abundance relationships during succession, e.g., abundant species in early-successional meadows exhibited relatively high photosynthesis rates and leaf proline content, but showed low seed germination rates, whereas the converse were true in late successional communities. However, the correlations among the three traits were insignificant in most meadow communities. Our results show that functional traits associated with plant growth, stress resistance, and reproduction impose strong influence on species abundance during secondary subalpine meadow succession in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

KEYWORDS:

Functional traits; Linear mixed effects model; Species abundance; Succession; Trait–abundance relationship

PMID:
30043232
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-018-4230-3

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