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Abstract Detail


Moore, Timothy [1], Schlichting, Carl [2], Aiello-Lammens, Matthew [3], Mocko, Kerri [4], Jones, Cynthia S. [5].

Trait-based ecology at regional scales needs an evolutionary context.

Trait-based ecology seeks to provide generalizable predictions across geographic scales that are independent of taxonomy. Studies of global patterns of relationships between plant traits and, to some extent, relationships between traits and environments, provide some evidence that these relationships are caused by fundamental trade-offs, but the extent to which individual genera and species conform to these global relationships is poorly understood. Patterns of differentiation in trait-trait and trait-environment relationships at finer scales have important implications concerning the role of evolution in trait diversification, and affect our ability to make predictions about responses to future environmental change. Adaptive radiations provide ideal systems to test global predictions, because they often contain large amounts of morphological variation over steep environmental gradients. We examined patterns of trait-environment and trait-trait relationships in the genus Pelargonium, from the megadiverse Greater Cape Floristic Region (GCFR) in South Africa. The genus displays remarkable diversity in growth form, life history and leaf-level traits distributed across 5 well-supported subclades. We sampled whole-plant and leaf-level traits of ~2500 individuals from 130 species from across South Africa. We employed Bayesian generalized linear mixed-effects models to test for trait-environment associations for each subclade. There were strong associations of traits with environments, but patterns of association varied among clades, including relationships in opposite directions among clades for some trait-environment associations. Environment strongly affected trait integration, but the strength and direction of these associations varied among clades. Evolutionary history has shaped the nature of trait variation and trait integration in response to climate. At regional scales, trait-based ecology grounded in phylogeny is likely to produce more accurate predictions of how lineages and floras will respond to future environmental change.

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1 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N Eagleville, Torrey Life Science Building, Storrs, Connecticut, 06269-3043, United States
2 - University Of Connecticut, Department Of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 43, Storrs, CT, 06269-3043, USA
3 - Pace University, Environmental Studies and Science, 861 Bedford Road , Pleasantville, NY, 10570, USA
4 - University Of Connecticut, Ecology And Evolutionary Biology, U-3043, 75 N. Eagleville Rd, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA
5 - University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 75 N. Eagleville Rd, U-3043, Storrs, CT, 06269, USA

adaptive radiation
bayesian linear model
trait integration
functional trait.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 14, Ecology Section: Plant Functional Traits and Responses
Location: 201/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 2:30 PM
Number: 14003
Abstract ID:465
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper

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