The evolution of trait variance creates a tension between species diversity and functional diversity

György Barabas, Christine Parent, Andrew Kraemer, Frederik Van de Perre, Frederik DE LAENDER

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It seems intuitively obvious that species diversity promotes functional diversity: communities with more plant species imply more varied plant leaf chemistry, more species of crops provide more kinds of food, etc. Recent literature has nuanced this view, showing how the relationship between the two can be modulated along latitudinal or environmental gradients. Here we show that even without such effects, the evolution of functional trait variance can erase or even reverse the expected positive relationship between species- and functional diversity. We present theory showing that trait-based eco-evolutionary processes force species to evolve narrower trait breadths in more tightly packed, species-rich communities, in their effort to avoid competition with neighboring species. This effect is so strong that it leads to an overall reduction in trait space coverage whenever a new species establishes. Empirical data from land snail communities on the Galápagos Islands are consistent with this claim. The finding that the relationship between species- and functional diversity can be negative implies that trait data from species-poor communities may misjudge functional diversity in species-rich ones, and vice versa.

langue originaleAnglais
Numéro d'article2521
journalNature Communications
Numéro de publication1
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - déc. 2022

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