Climate, and not fire, drives the phylogenetic clustering of species with hard-coated seeds in Mediterranean Basin communities

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Title: Climate, and not fire, drives the phylogenetic clustering of species with hard-coated seeds in Mediterranean Basin communities
Authors: Santana, Víctor M. | Alday, Josu G. | Adamo, Irene | Alloza Millán, José Antonio | Baeza, M. Jaime
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | CEAM (Centro de Estudios Ambientales del Mediterráneo) | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Adaptive trait | Community assembly | Habitat filtering | Hard coat | Seeder | Soils
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: Aug-2020
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 2020, 45: 125545. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2020.125545
Abstract: Hardseededness is a common trait in Mediterranean plant communities, although the origin of its selection is controversial. It may be a mechanism of persistence to fire temperatures, but could also form part of a gap-detecting mechanism to provide germination cues under arid conditions. To disentangle this, we studied the phylogenetic structure of plant communities against fire frequency and aridity gradients. The phylogenetic structure in Mediterranean Basin ecosystems was analysed for the hardseededness trait as a whole and was separated by the families composing this trait (Fabaceae and Cistaceae). This study focused on woody perennial species. The phylogenetic structure was also contrasted against soil classes. Hardseededness on the whole, and for the Fabaceae family alone, showed phylogenetic clustering as aridity increased. Cistaceae displayed the opposite pattern with phylogenetic clustering in most humid areas, together with a significant soil effect. Surprisingly, fire frequency had no influence in any case. This climate-driven phylogenetic clustering indicates that the hardseededness trait could confer some fitness advantage under dry conditions. For this reason, coexisting species were more closely related in the community with increasing aridity. This effect was especially evident for the Fabaceae family. These results shed some light on the evolutionary selection of this adaptive trait under Mediterranean conditions. Our results question the role of fire in the selection of the hardseededness trait in Mediterranean Basin ecosystems and indicates that climate is the most important factor. Therefore, we should be cautious in assigning to fire a preponderant role in the selection of some plant traits.
Sponsor: This research was financed by the IMAGINA (PROMETEO/2019/110) project. VMS was supported by a “Beatriu de Pinós” fellowship (2014BP-B-00056) from the Generalitat de Catalunya. JGA was supported by a Ramón y Cajal fellowship (RYC-2016-20528). IA was supported by a Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme with Marie Sklodowska-Curie Cofund grant agreement No. 801596.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/109019
ISSN: 1433-8319 (Print) | 1618-0437 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.ppees.2020.125545
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2020 Elsevier GmbH.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2020.125545
Appears in Collections:INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas
Research funded by the EU

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