Functional biogeography of Neotropical moist forests : Trait–climate relationships and assembly patterns of tree communities

Pinho, B.X. and Tabarelli, M. and ter Braak, C.J.F. and Wright, S.J. and Arroyo-Rodríguez, V. and Benchimol, M. and Engelbrecht, B.M.J. and Pierce, S. and Hietz, P. and Santos, B.A. and Peres, C.A. and Müller, S.C. and Wright, I.J. and Bongers, F. and Lohbeck, M. and Niinemets, Ü. and Slot, M. and Jansen, S. and Jamelli, D. and de Lima, R.A.F. and Swenson, N. and Condit, R. and Barlow, J. and Slik, F. and Hernández-Ruedas, M.A. and Mendes, G. and Martínez-Ramos, M. and Pitman, N. and Kraft, N. and Garwood, N. and Guevara Andino, J.E. and Faria, D. and Chacón-Madrigal, E. and Mariano-Neto, E. and Júnior, V. and Kattge, J. and Melo, F.P.L. (2021) Functional biogeography of Neotropical moist forests : Trait–climate relationships and assembly patterns of tree communities. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 30 (7). pp. 1430-1446. ISSN 1466-822X

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Aim: Here we examine the functional profile of regional tree species pools across the latitudinal distribution of Neotropical moist forests, and test trait–climate relationships among local communities. We expected opportunistic strategies (acquisitive traits, small seeds) to be overrepresented in species pools further from the equator, but also in terms of abundance in local communities in currently wetter, warmer and more seasonal climates. Location: Neotropics. Time period: Recent. Major taxa studied: Trees. Methods: We obtained abundance data from 471 plots across nine Neotropical regions, including c. 100,000 trees of 3,417 species, in addition to six functional traits. We compared occurrence-based trait distributions among regional species pools, and evaluated single trait–climate relationships across local communities using community abundance-weighted means (CWMs). Multivariate trait–climate relationships were assessed by a double-constrained correspondence analysis that tests both how CWMs relate to climate and how species distributions, parameterized by niche centroids in climate space, relate to their traits. Results: Regional species pools were undistinguished in functional terms, but opportunistic strategies dominated local communities further from the equator, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. Climate explained up to 57% of the variation in CWM traits, with increasing prevalence of lower-statured, light-wooded and softer-leaved species bearing smaller seeds in more seasonal, wetter and warmer climates. Species distributions were significantly but weakly related to functional traits. Main conclusions: Neotropical moist forest regions share similar sets of functional strategies, from which local assembly processes, driven by current climatic conditions, select for species with different functional strategies. We can thus expect functional responses to climate change driven by changes in relative abundances of species already present regionally. Particularly, equatorial forests holding the most conservative traits and large seeds are likely to experience the most severe changes if climate change triggers the proliferation of opportunistic tree species.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Pinho, BX, Tabarelli, M, ter Braak, C, et al. Functional biogeography of Neotropical moist forests: Trait–climate relationships and assembly patterns of tree communities. Global Ecol Biogeogr. 2021; 30: 1430– 1446. which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? climate changeclimate seasonalitycommunity assemblyfunctional compositionfunctional traitslatitudeprecipitationspecies pooltemperatureecologyglobal and planetary changeecology, evolution, behavior and systematics ??
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Deposited On:
14 Jul 2021 10:30
Last Modified:
16 May 2024 02:35