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title: Constancy in Functional Space across a Species Richness Anomaly
author: Swenson, Nathan G.;  Weiser, Michael D.;  Mao, Lingfeng;  Normand, Signe;  Angel Rodriguez, Miguel;  Lin, Luxiang;  Cao, Min;  Svenning, Jens-Christian
Issued Date: 2016
Abstract: The relationship between large-scale gradients in species richness and functional diversity provides important information regarding the mechanisms driving patterns of biodiversity. A classic hypothesis in ecology is that strong interspecific interactions should result in an increase in the functional volume of assemblages as the species richness increases, whereas climatic constraints may result in no change in functional volume. Most research of this kind examines latitudinal gradients in species richness, but the results are likely confounded by underlying gradients in climate and phylogenetic composition. We take an alternative approach that examines functional richness across a tree species richness anomaly where species richness doubles from Europe to eastern North America. The results demonstrate that the functional richness on both continents saturates at a similar point as species richness increases and that the packing of functional space becomes tighter. Further, the species richness anomaly is driven primarily by genera unique to North America, but those genera contribute less than expected functional richness to the region, indicating a high level of redundancy with genera shared between the continents. Taken together, the results indicate that the species richness anomaly is associated with diversification within a climatically constrained trait space. More generally, the work demonstrates the power of utilizing species richness anomalies in biodiversity research, particularly when they are coupled with information regarding organismal function.
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Recommended Citation:
Swenson, Nathan G.,Weiser, Michael D.,Mao, Lingfeng,et al. Constancy In Functional Space Across A Species Richness Anomaly[J]. American Naturalis,2016,187(4):E83-e92.

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