The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

A fundamental, eco-hydrological basis for niche segregation in plant communities

Araya, Yoseph N.; Silvertown, Jonathan; Gowing, David J.; McConway, Kevin J.; Linder, H. Peter and Midgley, Guy (2011). A fundamental, eco-hydrological basis for niche segregation in plant communities. New Phytologist, 189(1) pp. 253–258.

Full text available as:
Full text not publicly available
Due to copyright restrictions, this file is not available for public download
Click here to request a copy from the OU Author.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03475.x
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

- Ecologists still puzzle over how plant species manage to coexist with one another while competing for the same essential resources. The classic answer for animal communities is that species occupy different niches, but how plants do this is more difficult to determine. We previously found niche segregation along fine-scale hydrological gradients in European wet meadows and proposed that the mechanism might be a general one, especially in communities that experience seasonal saturation

– We quantified the hydrological niches of 96 species from eight fynbos communities in the biodiversity hotspot of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa and 99 species from 18 lowland wet meadow communities in the UK. Niche overlap was computed for all combinations of species.

– Despite the extreme functional and phylogenetic differences between the fynbos and wet meadow communities, an identical trade-off (i.e. specialization of species towards tolerance of aeration and/or drying stress) was found to cause segregation along fine-scale hydrological gradients.

– This study not only confirms the predicted generality of hydrological niche segregation, but also emphasizes its importance for structuring plant communities. Eco-hydrological niche segregation will have implications for conservation in habitats that face changing hydrology caused by water abstraction and climate change.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Authors
ISSN: 1469-8137
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetLeverhulme Trust
Not SetNot SetDefra
Keywords: fynbos; hydrological gradient; niche segregation; sum exceedance values; trade-off; wet meadow
Academic Unit/Department: Science > Environment, Earth and Ecosystems
Mathematics, Computing and Technology > Mathematics and Statistics
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space and Astronomical Research (CEPSAR)
Item ID: 23336
Depositing User: Yoseph Araya
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2010 15:13
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2012 05:38
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/23336
Share this page:

Altmetrics

Scopus Citations

Actions (login may be required)

View Item
Report issue / request change

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340   general-enquiries@open.ac.uk