Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1890/14-1477.1
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Title (Primary) Neighborhood diversity of large trees shows independent species patterns in a mixed dipterocarp forest in Sri Lanka
Author Punchi-Manage, R.; Wiegand, T.; Wiegand, K.; Getzin, S.; Huth, A.; Gunatilleke, C.V.S.; Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N.
Source Titel Ecology
Year 2015
Department OESA; iDiv
Volume 96
Issue 7
Page From 1823
Page To 1834
Language englisch
Data and Software links
Keywords individual species–area relationship; independence null model; neighborhood 47 diversity; point pattern analysis; Sinharaja tropical forest; spatial scale; stochastic dilution
UFZ wide themes RU5;

Interactions among neighbors influence plant performance and should create spatial patterns in local community structure. In order to assess the role of large trees in generating spatial patterns in local species richness we used the individual species-area relationship (ISAR) to evaluate the species richness of trees of different size classes (and dead trees) in neighborhoods with varying size around large trees of different focal species. To reveal signals of species interactions we compared the ISAR function of the individuals of focal species with that of randomly selected nearby locations. We expected that large trees should strongly affect the community structure of smaller trees in their neighborhood, but that these effects should fade away with increasing size class. Unexpectedly we found that only few focal species showed signals of species interactions with trees of the different size classes and that this was less likely for less abundant focal species. However, the few and relatively weak departures from independence were consistent with expectations of the effect of competition for space and the dispersal syndrome on spatial patterns. A noisy signal of competition for space found for large trees built up gradually with increasing life stage; it was not yet present for large saplings but detectable for intermediates. Additionally, focal species with animal dispersed seeds showed higher species richness in their neighborhood than those with gravity and gyration dispersed seeds. Our analysis across the entire ontogeny from recruits to large trees supports the hypothesis that stochastic effects dilute deterministic species interactions in highly diverse communities. Stochastic dilution is a consequence of the stochastic geometry of biodiversity in species rich communities where the identities of the nearest neighbors of a given plant are largely unpredictable. While the outcome of local species interactions is governed for each plant by deterministic fitness and niche differences, the large variability of competitors causes also a large variability in the outcomes of interactions and does not allow for strong directed responses at the species level. Collectively, our results highlight the critical effect of the stochastic geometry of biodiversity in structuring local spatial patterns of tropical forest diversity.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Punchi-Manage, R., Wiegand, T., Wiegand, K., Getzin, S., Huth, A., Gunatilleke, C.V.S., Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N. (2015):
Neighborhood diversity of large trees shows independent species patterns in a mixed dipterocarp forest in Sri Lanka
Ecology 96 (7), 1823 - 1834 10.1890/14-1477.1