The ecology of differences: assessing community assembly with trait and evolutionary distances

Ecology Letters
Marc W CadotteSteve C Walker


Species enter and persist in local communities because of their ecological fit to local conditions, and recently, ecologists have moved from measuring diversity as species richness and evenness, to using measures that reflect species ecological differences. There are two principal approaches for quantifying species ecological differences: functional (trait-based) and phylogenetic pairwise distances between species. Both approaches have produced new ecological insights, yet at the same time methodological issues and assumptions limit them. Traits and phylogeny may provide different, and perhaps complementary, information about species' differences. To adequately test assembly hypotheses, a framework integrating the information provided by traits and phylogenies is required. We propose an intuitive measure for combining functional and phylogenetic pairwise distances, which provides a useful way to assess how functional and phylogenetic distances contribute to understanding patterns of community assembly. Here, we show that both traits and phylogeny inform community assembly patterns in alpine plant communities across an elevation gradient, because they represent complementary information. Differences in historical selection press...Continue Reading


Aug 5, 1998·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·B G Baldwin, M J Sanderson
Jun 5, 2003·Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution·Simon P BlombergAnthony R Ives
Apr 23, 2004·Nature·Ian J WrightRafael Villar
May 17, 2006·Trends in Ecology & Evolution·Brian J McGillMark Westoby
Jul 19, 2006·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Ole Seehausen
Jan 19, 2007·The American Naturalist·Matthew R HelmusAnthony R Ives
Jan 25, 2008·Ecological Applications : a Publication of the Ecological Society of America·Fabien QuétierIan Davies
Sep 24, 2008·Ecology Letters·John J Wiens
May 29, 2009·Ecology Letters·Jeannine Cavender-BaresSteven W Kembel
Oct 7, 2009·Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution·Luis M ValenteTimothy G Barraclough
Oct 22, 2009·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·D D Ackerly
Dec 18, 2009·Ecology Letters·Matthew R HelmusJames A Rusak
Apr 17, 2010·The American Naturalist·Natalie Cooper, Andy Purvis
May 12, 2010·Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution·Luke J HarmonArne Ø Mooers
Jun 26, 2010·Ecology Letters·Margaret M Mayfield, Jonathan M Levine
Jul 28, 2010·Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution·Douglas J Futuyma
Feb 18, 2011·Nature·Wilfried ThuillerMiguel B Araujo
Jan 17, 2012·Trends in Ecology & Evolution·Cyrille ViolleJulie Messier
Mar 22, 2012·Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society·Nicolas MouquetWilfried Thuiller


Sep 17, 2014·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Cyrille ViolleJens Kattge
Oct 18, 2014·The American Naturalist·Christopher H TrisosJoseph A Tobias
Jul 25, 2014·The American Naturalist·Ben G WeinsteinCatherine H Graham
Jan 21, 2016·Oecologia·Sébastien IbanezSébastien Lavergne
Oct 7, 2015·Ecology Letters·Wilfried ThuillerTamara Münkemüller
Mar 16, 2016·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Isabel S FentonAndy Purvis
Aug 10, 2015·Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences : CMLS·Daniel R Garza, Bas E Dutilh
Jul 30, 2014·Global Ecology and Biogeography : a Journal of Macroecology·Anne-Christine MonnetVincent Devictor
Jan 7, 2015·Ecology Letters·Alex L Pigot, Rampal S Etienne
Jun 23, 2015·Ecology Letters·Kirk O WinemillerEric R Pianka
Oct 29, 2014·Ecology Letters·Scott L Nuismer, Luke J Harmon
Oct 9, 2014·Ecology Letters·H MorlonNeo D Martinez
May 8, 2015·Bioinformatics·William D PearseMatthew R Helmus
Apr 15, 2016·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Andros T GianucaLuc De Meester
Mar 1, 2016·Trends in Ecology & Evolution·Carlos P CarmonaJan Lepš
Apr 16, 2015·FEMS Microbiology Ecology·Ariana KubartováJan Stenlid
Feb 14, 2017·The Journal of Animal Ecology·Xingfeng SiPing Ding
Mar 1, 2018·Annual Review of Plant Biology·Marc W CadotteNicholas E Mandrak
Dec 10, 2017·Nature Communications·Nathan G SwensonKeping Ma
May 14, 2017·Ecology·Rachel C WooliverJennifer A Schweitzer
Jul 2, 2020·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Sam C LevinTiffany M Knight
Dec 14, 2019·Nature Communications·Philipp BrunWilfried Thuiller
May 6, 2016·Ecology·Brody Sandel, Constantinos Tsirogiannis
Jan 4, 2017·The New Phytologist·Daijiang LiDonald M Waller
Mar 8, 2018·PloS One·Eduardo Chacón-MadrigalStefan Dullinger
Oct 17, 2018·Scientific Reports·Tom P FairchildJohn N Griffin
Jun 20, 2020·Oecologia·Francesco CeriniLeonardo Vignoli
Apr 23, 2016·Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society·Jennifer L FunkJustin Wright
Nov 13, 2019·Nature Ecology & Evolution·Fernanda Coelho de SouzaTimothy R Baker
Jul 15, 2020·Nature Ecology & Evolution·Lea HeidrichJörg Müller
Nov 10, 2018·Journal of Theoretical Biology·Sandrine Pavoine

Related Concepts

Biological Evolution

Trending Feeds


Coronaviruses encompass a large family of viruses that cause the common cold as well as more serious diseases, such as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19; formally known as 2019-nCoV). Coronaviruses can spread from animals to humans; symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties; in more severe cases, infection can lead to death. This feed covers recent research on COVID-19.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by unexplained disabling fatigue; the pathology of which is incompletely understood. Discover the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome here.

Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a rare rheumatic disease that affects children. Symptoms include joint pain, but also fevers and skin rashes. Here is the latest on this disease.

Chromatin Regulation and Circadian Clocks

The circadian clock plays an important role in regulating transcriptional dynamics through changes in chromatin folding and remodelling. Discover the latest research on Chromatin Regulation and Circadian Clocks here.

Central Pontine Myelinolysis

Central Pontine Myelinolysis is a neurologic disorder caused most frequently by rapid correction of hyponatremia and is characterized by demyelination that affects the central portion of the base of the pons. Here is the latest research on this disease.

Myocardial Stunning

Myocardial stunning is a mechanical dysfunction that persists after reperfusion of previously ischemic tissue in the absence of irreversible damage including myocardial necrosis. Here is the latest research.

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia

Pontocerebellar hypoplasias are a group of neurodegenerative autosomal recessive disorders with prenatal onset, atrophy or hypoplasia of the cerebellum, hypoplasia of the ventral pons, microcephaly, variable neocortical atrophy and severe mental and motor impairments. Here is the latest research on pontocerebellar hypoplasia.

Cell Atlas Along the Gut-Brain Axis

Profiling cells along the gut-brain axis at the single cell level will provide unique information for each cell type, a three-dimensional map of how cell types work together to form tissues, and insights into how changes in the map underlie health and disease of the GI system and its crosstalk with the brain. Disocver the latest research on single cell analysis of the gut-brain axis here.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive degenerative disease that occurs in individuals that suffer repetitive brain trauma. Discover the latest research on traumatic encephalopathy here.

Related Papers

Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Nicolas MouquetWilfried Thuiller
Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Jennifer L FunkErika S Zavaleta
© 2021 Meta ULC. All rights reserved