Plant traits-the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants-determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits-almost complete coverage for 'plant growth form'. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait-environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects.We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives. Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) and DIVERSITAS, the TRY database (TRY-not an acronym, rather a statement of sentiment; https ://www.try-db.org; Kattge et al., 2011) was proposed with the explicit assignment to improve the availability and accessibility of plant trait data for ecology and earth system sciences. The Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry (MPI-BGC) offered to host the database and the different groups joined forces for this community-driven program. Two factors were key to the success of TRY: the support and trust of leaders in the field of functional plant ecology submitting large databases and the long-term funding by the Max Planck Society, the MPI-BGC and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, which has enabled the continuous development of the TRY database.
Habitats vary considerably in the level of invasion (number or proportion of alien plant species they contain), which depends on local habitat properties, propagule pressure, and climate. To determine the invasibility (susceptibility to invasions) of different habitats, it is necessary to factor out the effects of any confounding variables such as propagule pressure and climate on the level of invasion. We used 20 468 vegetation plots from 32 habitats in the Czech Republic to compare the invasibility of different habitats. Using regression trees, the proportion of alien plants, including archaeophytes (prehistoric to medieval invaders) and neophytes (recent invaders), was related to variables representing habitat properties, propagule pressure, and climate. The propagule pressure was expressed as the proportion of surrounding urban and industrial or agricultural land, human population density, distance from a river, and history of human colonization in the region. Urban and industrial land use had a positive effect on the proportion of both archaeophytes and neophytes. Agricultural land use, higher population density, and longer history of human impact positively affected the proportion of archaeophytes. Disturbed human-made habitats with herbaceous vegetation were most invaded by both groups of aliens. Neophytes were also relatively common in disturbed woody vegetation, such as broad-leaved plantations, forest clearings, and riverine scrub. These habitats also had the highest proportion of aliens after removing the effect of propagule pressure and climate, indicating that they are not only the most invaded, but also most invasible. These habitats experience recurrent disturbances and are rich, at least temporarily, in available nutrients, which supports the hypothesis that fluctuating resources are the major cause of habitat invasibility. The least invaded habitats were mires and alpine-subalpine grasslands and scrub. After removing the effect of propagule pressure and climate, some habitats actually invaded at an intermediate level had very low proportions of aliens. This indicates that these habitats (e.g., dry, wet, and saline grasslands, base-rich fens, and broad-leaved deciduous woodlands) are resistant to invasion.
The European Vegetation Archive (EVA) is a centralized database of European vegetation plots developed by the IAVS Working Group European Vegetation Survey. It has been in development since 2012 and first made available for use in research projects in 2014. It stores copies of national and regional vegetationplot databases on a single software platform. Data storage in EVA does not affect on-going independent development of the contributing databases, which remain the property of the data contributors. EVA uses a prototype of the database management software TURBOVEG 3 developed for joint management of multiple databases that use different species lists. This is facilitated by the SynBioSys Taxon Database, a system of taxon names and concepts used in the individual European databases and their corresponding names on a unified list of European flora. TURBOVEG 3 also includes procedures for handling data requests, selections and provisions according to the approved EVA Data Property and Governance Rules. By 30 June 2015, 61 databases from all European regions have joined EVA, contributing in total 1 027 376 vegetation plots, 82% of them with geographic coordinates, from 57 countries. EVA provides a unique data source for largescale analyses of European vegetation diversity both for fundamental research and nature conservation applications. Updated information on EVA is available online at http://euroveg.org/evadatabase.
The factors that promote invasive behavior in introduced plant species occur across many scales of biological and ecological organization. Factors that act at relatively small scales, for example, the evolution of biological traits associated with invasiveness, scale up to shape species distributions among different climates and habitats, as well as other characteristics linked to invasion, such as attractiveness for cultivation (and by extension propagule pressure). To identify drivers of invasion it is therefore necessary to disentangle the contribution of multiple factors that are interdependent. To this end, we formulated a conceptual model describing the process of invasion of central European species into North America based on a sequence of "drivers." We then used confirmatory path analysis to test whether the conceptual model is supported by a statistical model inferred from a comprehensive database containing 466 species. The path analysis revealed that naturalization of central European plants in North America, in terms of the number of North American regions invaded, most strongly depends on residence time in the invaded range and the number of habitats occupied by species in their native range. In addition to the confirmatory path analysis, we identified the effects of various biological traits on several important drivers of the conceptualized invasion process. The data supported a model that included indirect effects of biological traits on invasion via their effect on the number of native range habitats occupied and cultivation in the native range. For example, persistent seed banks and longer flowering periods are positively correlated with number of native habitats, while a stress-tolerant life strategy is negatively correlated with native range cultivation. However, the importance of the biological traits is nearly an order of magnitude less than that of the larger scale drivers and highly dependent on the invasion stage (traits were associated only with native range drivers). This suggests that future research should explicitly link biological traits to the different stages of invasion, and that a failure to consider residence time or characteristics of the native range may seriously overestimate the role of biological traits, which, in turn, may result in spurious predictions of plant invasiveness.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The phylogenies of allopolyploids take the shape of networks and cannot be adequately represented as bifurcating trees. Especially for high polyploids (i.e., organisms with more than six sets of nuclear chromosomes), the signatures of gene homoeolog loss, deep coalescence, and polyploidy may become confounded, with the result that gene trees may be congruent with more than one species network. Herein, we obtained the most parsimonious species network by objective comparison of competing scenarios involving polyploidization and homoeolog loss in a high-polyploid lineage of violets (Viola, Violaceae) mostly or entirely restricted to North America, Central America, or Hawaii. We amplified homoeologs of the low-copy nuclear gene, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (GPI), by single-molecule polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the chloroplast trnL-F region by conventional PCR for 51 species and subspecies. Topological incongruence among GPI homoeolog subclades, owing to deep coalescence and two instances of putative loss (or lack of detection) of homoeologs, were reconciled by applying the maximum tree topology for each subclade. The most parsimonious species network and the fossil-based calibration of the homoeolog tree favored monophyly of the high polyploids, which has resulted from allodecaploidization 9–14 Ma, involving sympatric ancestors from the extant Viola sections Chamaemelanium (diploid), Plagiostigma (paleotetraploid), and Viola (paleotetraploid). Although two of the high-polyploid lineages (Boreali-Americanae, Pedatae) remained decaploid, recurrent polyploidization with tetraploids of section Plagiostigma within the last 5 Ma has resulted in two 14-ploid lineages (Mexicanae, Nosphinium) and one 18-ploid lineage (Langsdorffianae). This implies a more complex phylogenetic and biogeographic origin of the Hawaiian violets (Nosphinium) than that previously inferred from rDNA data and illustrates the necessity of considering polyploidy in phylogenetic and biogeographic reconstruction.
This dataset presents comprehensive and easy-to-use information on 29 functional traits of clonal growth, bud banks, and lifespan of members of the Central European flora. The source data were compiled from a number of published sources (see the reference file) and the authors' own observations or studies. In total, 2,909 species are included (2,745 herbs and 164 woody species), out of which 1,532 (i.e., 52.7% of total) are classified as possessing clonal growth organs (1,480, i.e., 53.9%, if woody plants are excluded). This provides a unique, and largely unexplored, set of traits of clonal growth that can be used in studies on comparative plant ecology, plant evolution, community assembly, and ecosystem functioning across the large flora of Central Europe. It can be directly imported into a number of programs and packages that perform trait-based and phylogenetic analyses aimed to answer a variety of open and pressing ecological questions.
The stability of ecological communities is critical for the stable provisioning of ecosystem services, such as food and forage production, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility. Greater biodiversity is expected to enhance stability across years by decreasing synchrony among species, but the drivers of stability in nature remain poorly resolved. Our analysis of time series from 79 datasets across the world showed that stability was associated more strongly with the degree of synchrony among dominant species than with species richness. The relatively weak influence of species richness is consistent with theory predicting that the effect of richness on stability weakens when synchrony is higher than expected under random fluctuations, which was the case in most communities. Land management, nutrient addition, and climate change treatments had relatively weak and varying effects on stability, modifying how species richness, synchrony, and stability interact. Our results demonstrate the prevalence of biotic drivers on ecosystem stability, with the potential for environmental drivers to alter the intricate relationship among richness, synchrony, and stability.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2024 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.