Functional diversity (FD) has become a principal concept for revealing mechanisms driving community assembly and ecosystem function. Multiple assembly processes, including abiotic filtering, competition and multi-trophic relationships, operate simultaneously to structure FD. In water-limited plant communities, FD is likely to reflect trade-offs between drought resistance vs. disturbance resistance and competitive ability.
We propose a mathematical mechanistic model for understanding the organization and function of water-limited plant communities. The approach captures the interplay between abiotic filtering, below- and above-ground competition and disturbance.
Our model showcases how fundamental tradeoffs in plant traits may drive functional diversity and ecosystem function along environmental gradients. It offers a mechanism through which novel understandings can be obtained regarding the interplay between water stress, below- and above-ground competition and disturbance intensity and history.
Read more in:
Nathan J., Osem Y., Shachak M., Meron E., Linking functional diversity to resource availability and disturbance: a mechanistic approach for water limited plant communities, J. of Ecology 104, 419-429 (2016). DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12525