Multi-trait eco-evolutionary dynamics explain niche diversity and evolved neutrality in forests

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Daniel S FalsterUlf Dieckmann


An enduring challenge in ecology is to understand how diverse plant species coexist when competing for the same basic resources[1][1]–[4][2]. Two candidate frameworks for meeting this challenge currently exist in forest ecology. Niche-based approaches succeed in describing successional dynamics in response to recurrent disturbances[5][3]–[9][4]. Approaches based on Hubbell’s neutral theory describe abundance patterns in highly diverse communities[10][5]. Yet both theories are unsuccessful where their competitor is strong, highlighting an enduring need for reconciliation[11][6]–[13][7]. In fact, the perception that niche and neutral processes are incompatible may have arisen because both types of models have lacked some critical features of real forests. Here we report a productive reconciliation that arises from extending niche models to include three ubiquitous features of vegetation: (1) plant growth under light competition, (2) multiple trait-mediated tradeoffs in plant function, and (3) evolutionary community assembly. We show that fitness equivalence – which neutral theory controversially takes as an assumption[4][2],[12][8],[13][7]–[14][9] – naturally arises as a mechanistic outcome of niche differentiation, but only with...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Cell Differentiation Process
Anatomical Space Structure
Plant Leaves
Cell Proliferation
Molecular Assembly/Self Assembly
Neutral Lipid Metabolic Process
MRNA Maturation

Related Feeds

BioRxiv & MedRxiv Preprints

BioRxiv and MedRxiv are the preprint servers for biology and health sciences respectively, operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Here are the latest preprint articles (which are not peer-reviewed) from BioRxiv and MedRxiv.

Related Papers

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Daniel FalsterUlf Dieckmann
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Benjamin Gilbert, Martin J Lechowicz
© 2021 Meta ULC. All rights reserved