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DOI 10.1890/12-2102.1
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Title (Primary) Effect of spatial processes and topography on structuring species assemblages in a Sri Lankan dipterocarp forest
Author Punchi-Manage, R.; Wiegand, T.; Wiegand, K.; Getzin, S.; Gunatilleke, C.V.S.; Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N.
Journal Ecology
Year 2014
Department OESA
Volume 95
Issue 2
Page From 376
Page To 386
Language englisch
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Keywords distance-based Moran’s eigenvector maps; neutral theory; niche theory; Sinharaja forest, Sri Lanka; spatial scale; species composition and richness; variation partitioning
UFZ wide themes RU5;
Abstract Niche and neutral theories emphasize different processes that contribute to the
maintenance of species diversity and should leave different spatial structures in species
assemblages. In this study we used variation partitioning in combination with distance-based
Moran’s eigenvector maps and habitat variables to determine the relative importance of the
effects of pure habitat, pure spatial, and spatially structured habitat processes on the spatial
distribution of tree species composition and richness in a 25-ha tropical rain forest of
Sinharaja/Sri Lanka. We analyzed the contribution of those components at three spatial scales
(10 m, 20 m, and 50 m) for all trees and the three life stages: recruits, juveniles, and adults. At
the 10-m scale, 80% of the variation in species composition remained unexplained for recruits
and adults, but only 55% for juveniles. With increasingly broader scales these figures were
strongly reduced, mainly by an increasing contribution of the spatially structured habitat
component, which explained 4–30%, 20–47%, and 8–35% for recruits, juveniles, and adults,
respectively. The pure spatial component was most important at the 20-m scale and reached
20%, 32%, and 23% for recruits, juveniles, and adults, respectively. The spatially structured
habitat component described variability at broader scales than the pure spatial component.
Our results suggest that stochastic processes and spatially structuring processes of community
dynamics, such as dispersal limitation and habitat association, contributed jointly to explain
species composition and richness at the Sinharaja forest, but their relative importance changed
with scale and life stage. Species assembly at the local scale was more strongly impacted by
stochasticity, whereas the signal of habitat was stronger at the 50-m scale where plant-scale
stochasticity is averaged out. Recent research points to an emerging consensus on the relative
contribution of stochasticity, habitat, and spatial processes in governing community assembly,
but how these components change with life stage, and how this is influenced by sample size,
remains to be explored.
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Punchi-Manage, R., Wiegand, T., Wiegand, K., Getzin, S., Gunatilleke, C.V.S., Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N. (2014):
Effect of spatial processes and topography on structuring species assemblages in a Sri Lankan dipterocarp forest
Ecology 95 (2), 376 - 386