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Comparing seasonal dynamics of functional and taxonomic diversity reveals the driving forces underlying phytoplankton community structure

  • In most biodiversity studies, taxonomic diversity is the measure for the multiplicity of species and is often considered to represent functional diversity. However, trends in taxonomic diversity and functional diversity may differ, for example, when many functionally similar but taxonomically different species co-occur in a community. The differences between these diversity measures are of particular interest in diversity research for understanding diversity patterns and their underlying mechanisms. We analysed a temporally highly resolved 20-year time series of lake phytoplankton to determine whether taxonomic diversity and functional diversity exhibit similar or contrasting seasonal patterns. We also calculated the functional mean of the community in n-dimensional trait space for each sampling day to gain further insights into the seasonal dynamics of the functional properties of the community. We found an overall weak positive relationship between taxonomic diversity and functional diversity with a distinct seasonal pattern. TheIn most biodiversity studies, taxonomic diversity is the measure for the multiplicity of species and is often considered to represent functional diversity. However, trends in taxonomic diversity and functional diversity may differ, for example, when many functionally similar but taxonomically different species co-occur in a community. The differences between these diversity measures are of particular interest in diversity research for understanding diversity patterns and their underlying mechanisms. We analysed a temporally highly resolved 20-year time series of lake phytoplankton to determine whether taxonomic diversity and functional diversity exhibit similar or contrasting seasonal patterns. We also calculated the functional mean of the community in n-dimensional trait space for each sampling day to gain further insights into the seasonal dynamics of the functional properties of the community. We found an overall weak positive relationship between taxonomic diversity and functional diversity with a distinct seasonal pattern. The two diversity measures showed synchronous behaviour from early spring to mid-summer and a more complex and diverging relationship from autumn to late winter. The functional mean of the community exhibited a recurrent annual pattern with the most prominent changes before and after the clear-water phase. From late autumn to winter, the functional mean of the community and functional diversity were relatively constant while taxonomic diversity declined, suggesting competitive exclusion during this period. A further decline in taxonomic diversity concomitant with increasing functional diversity in late winter to early spring is seen as a result of niche diversification together with competitive exclusion. Under these conditions, several different sets of traits are suitable to thrive, but within one set of functional traits only one, or very few, morphotypes can persist. Taxonomic diversity alone is a weak descriptor of trait diversity in phytoplankton. However, the combined analysis of taxonomic diversity and functional diversity, along with the functional mean of the community, allows for deeper insights into temporal patterns of community assembly and niche diversification.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Guntram Weithoff, Marcia R. Rocha, Ursula GaedkeORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.12527
ISSN:0046-5070 (print)
ISSN:1365-2427 (online)
Parent Title (English):Freshwater biology
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:algae; biodiversity; functional traits; seasonality; time series
Volume:60
Issue:4
Pagenumber:10
First Page:758
Last Page:767
Funder:Potsdam University Graduate Programme UPGrade
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert