its width (32). On physical grounds, the thin gas gap suggested by our measurements should also be expected to possess soft modes with fluctuations whose wavelength ranges from small to large. From this perspective, we then expect that the experimental geometry of a Janus-type water film, selected for experimental convenience, was incidental to the main physical effect.These conclusions have evident connections to understanding the long-standing question of the structure of aqueous films near a hydrophobic surface and may have a bearing on understanding the structure of water films near the patchy hydrophilichydrophobic surfaces that are so ubiquitous in nature.Note added in proof: We have recently been made aware of neutron reflectivity experiments that indicate the existence of a nanometer-thick vapor-like coating that forms on an extended hydrophobic surface when it is immersed in water (33, 34). The high alpha-diversity of tropical forests has been amply documented, but beta-diversity-how species composition changes with distance-has seldom been studied. We present quantitative estimates of beta-diversity for tropical trees by comparing species composition of plots in lowland terra firme forest in Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. We compare observations with predictions derived from a neutral model in which habitat is uniform and only dispersal and speciation influence species turnover. We find that beta-diversity is higher in Panama than in western Amazonia and that patterns in both areas are inconsistent with the neutral model. In Panama, habitat variation appears to increase species turnover relative to Amazonia, where unexpectedly low turnover over great distances suggests that population densities of some species are bounded by as yet unidentified processes. At intermediate scales in both regions, observations can be matched by theory, suggesting that dispersal limitation, with speciation, influences species turnover. References and NotesBeta-diversity is central to concepts about what controls diversity in ecological communities. Species turnover can reflect deterministic processes, such as species' adaptations to differences in climate or substrate, or it can result from limited dispersal coupled with speciation, delayed response to climatic change, or other historical effects. Perhaps more important, beta-diversity is as important as alpha-diversity for conservation, because species turnover influences diversity at large scales. Recently, Hubbell (1) and Harte et al. (2, 3) have derived theories relating species turnover with distance to species-area relations and total species richness. In very rich forests of the neotropics, these theories may allow us to interpolate species turnover and estimate species distributions and diversity at scales relevant to conservation even with the sparse data from forest plots that are currently available.To measure beta-diversity and test factors influencing it, we identified all trees in 34 plots near the Panama Canal, 16 plots in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park, and 1...
REPORTS microscopic analyses (15) is shown in Fig. 4. Although much remains to be learned about the molecular architecture of the midbody and the precise stereochemistry of cytokinesis, the results and model presented here provide one foothold for furthering such an understanding.
The importance of niche vs. neutral assembly mechanisms in structuring tropical tree communities remains an important unsettled question in community ecology [Bell G (2005) Ecology 86:1757-1770]. There is ample evidence that species distributions are determined by soils and habitat factors at landscape (<10 4 km 2 ) and regional scales. At local scales (<1 km 2 ), however, habitat factors and species distributions show comparable spatial aggregation, making it difficult to disentangle the importance of niche and dispersal processes. In this article, we test soil resource-based niche assembly at a local scale, using species and soil nutrient distributions obtained at high spatial resolution in three diverse neotropical forest plots in Colombia (La Planada), Ecuador (Yasuni), and Panama (Barro Colorado Island). Using spatial distribution maps of >0.5 million individual trees of 1,400 species and 10 essential plant nutrients, we used Monte Carlo simulations of species distributions to test plant-soil associations against null expectations based on dispersal assembly. We found that the spatial distributions of 36 -51% of tree species at these sites show strong associations to soil nutrient distributions. Neutral dispersal assembly cannot account for these plant-soil associations or the observed niche breadths of these species. These results indicate that belowground resource availability plays an important role in the assembly of tropical tree communities at local scales and provide the basis for future investigations on the mechanisms of resource competition among tropical tree species.community assembly ͉ niche differentiation ͉ tropical forest T he high local diversity of tropical tree communities poses a unique challenge for testing niche assembly theories based on resource competition (1). In these species-rich communities, hundreds of tree species can coexist in a single site (2), which renders assessment of the outcome of pairwise competitive interactions intractable. Conversely, the high diversity and relative rarity of most species also means that species seldom encounter each other in ecological neighborhood interactions (3), which suggests that competitive differences among species might not have a predictable effect on community structure. In fact, neutral theories of community assembly assume that there are no competitive differences among species and that ecological communities are assembled by random dispersal. Under neutral community assembly, alpha diversity would be governed by metacommunity diversity and speciation-extinction at macroecological scales (4, 5).Despite the contrasting mechanisms of community assembly proposed by neutral and niche theories, several lines of evidence support each of these perspectives. Tropical tree species differ in their light requirements for regeneration (6) because of a tradeoff between growth rate under high light and survival in the shade (7-9). Seedlings and saplings of different species differ in their resistance to pests, resulting in a frequency-dependent a...
The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion to 490 billion per year according to our estimation—is more than twice what it would cost to implement effective global conservation. This highlights the need for a worldwide reassessment of biodiversity values, forest management strategies, and conservation priorities. (Résumé d'auteur
Summary 1We mapped and identified all trees ≥ 10 mm in diameter in 25 ha of lowland wet forest in Amazonian Ecuador, and found 1104 morphospecies among 152 353 individuals. The largest number of species was mid-sized canopy trees with maximum height 10-20 m and understorey treelets with maximum height of 5-10 m. 2 Several species of understorey treelets in the genera Matisia and Rinorea dominated the forest numerically, while important canopy species were Iriartea deltoidea and Eschweilera coriacea . 3 We examined how species partition local topographic variation into niches, and how much this partitioning contributes to forest diversity. Evidence in favour of topographic niche-partitioning was found: similarity in species composition between ridge and valley quadrats was lower than similarity between two valley (or two ridge) quadrats, and 25% of the species had large abundance differences between valley and ridge-top. On the other hand, 25% of the species were generalists, with similar abundance on both valley and ridges, and half the species had only moderate abundance differences between valley and ridge. 4 Topographic niche-partitioning was not finely grained. There were no more than three distinct vegetation zones: valley, mid-slope, and upper-ridge, and the latter two differed only slightly in species composition. 5 Similarity in species composition declined with distance even within a topographic habitat, to about the same degree as it declined between habitats. This suggests patchiness not related to topographic variation, and possibly due to dispersal limitation. 6 We conclude that partitioning of topographic niches does make a contribution to the α -diversity of Amazonian trees, but only a minor one. It provides no explanation for the co-occurrence of hundreds of topographic generalists, nor for the hundreds of species with similar life-form appearing on a single ridge-top.
Global change is impacting forests worldwide, threatening biodiversity and ecosystem services including climate regulation. Understanding how forests respond is critical to forest conservation and climate protection. This review describes an international network of 59 long-term forest dynamics research sites (CTFS-ForestGEO) useful for characterizing forest responses to global change. Within very large plots (median size 25 ha), all stems ≥1 cm diameter are identified to species, mapped, and regularly recensused according to standardized protocols. CTFS-ForestGEO spans 25°S-61°N latitude, is generally representative of the range of bioclimatic, edaphic, and topographic conditions experienced by forests worldwide, and is the only forest monitoring network that applies a standardized protocol to each of the world's major forest biomes. Supplementary standardized measurements at subsets of the sites provide additional information on plants, animals, and ecosystem and environmental variables. CTFS-ForestGEO sites are experiencing multifaceted anthropogenic global change pressures including warming (average 0.61°C), changes in precipitation (up to AE30% change), atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds (up to 3.8 g N m À2 yr À1 and 3.1 g S m À2 yr À1), and forest fragmentation in the surrounding landscape (up to 88% reduced tree cover within 5 km). The broad suite of measurements made at CTFS-ForestGEO sites makes it possible to investigate the complex ways in which global change is impacting forest dynamics. Ongoing research across the CTFSForestGEO network is yielding insights into how and why the forests are changing, and continued monitoring will provide vital contributions to understanding worldwide forest diversity and dynamics in an era of global change.
The theory of metabolic ecology predicts specific relationships among tree stem diameter, biomass, height, growth and mortality. As demographic rates are important to estimates of carbon fluxes in forests, this theory might offer important insights into the global carbon budget, and deserves careful assessment. We assembled data from 10 oldgrowth tropical forests encompassing censuses of 367 ha and > 1.7 million trees to test the theory's predictions. We also developed a set of alternative predictions that retained some assumptions of metabolic ecology while also considering how availability of a key limiting resource, light, changes with tree size. Our results show that there are no universal scaling relationships of growth or mortality with size among trees in tropical forests. Observed patterns were consistent with our alternative model in the one site where we had the data necessary to evaluate it, and were inconsistent with the predictions of metabolic ecology in all forests.
Species spatial turnover, or b-diversity, induces a decay of community similarity with geographic distance known as the distance-decay relationship. Although this relationship is central to biodiversity and biogeography, its theoretical underpinnings remain poorly understood. Here, we develop a general framework to describe how the distance-decay relationship is influenced by population aggregation and the landscape-scale speciesabundance distribution. We utilize this general framework and data from three tropical forests to show that rare species have a weak influence on distance-decay curves, and that overall similarity and rates of decay are primarily influenced by species abundances and population aggregation respectively. We illustrate the utility of the framework by deriving an exact analytical expression of the distance-decay relationship when population aggregation is characterized by the Poisson Cluster Process. Our study provides a foundation for understanding the distance-decay relationship, and for predicting and testing patterns of beta-diversity under competing theories in ecology.
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