Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests: spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity

C. Brown*, D. F. R. P. Burslem, J. B. Illian, L. Bao, W. Brockelman, M. Cao, L. W. Chang, H. S. Dattaraja, S. Davies, C. V. S. Gunatilleke, I. A. U. N. Gunatilleke, J. Huang, A. R. Kassim, J. V. LaFrankie, J. Lian, L. Lin, K. Ma, X. Mi, A. Nathalang, S. NoorP. Ong, R. Sukumar, S. H. Su, I. F. Sun, H. S. Suresh, S. Tan, J. Thompson, M. Uriarte, R. Valencia, S. L. Yap, W. Ye, R. Law

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Neutral and niche theories give contrasting explanations for the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity. Both have some empirical support, but methods to disentangle their effects have not yet been developed. We applied a statistical measure of spatial structure to data from 14 large tropical forest plots to test a prediction of niche theory that is incompatible with neutral theory: that species in heterogeneous environments should separate out in space according to their niche preferences. We chose plots across a range of topographic heterogeneity, and tested whether pairwise spatial associations among species were more variable in more heterogeneous sites. We found strong support for this prediction, based on a strong positive relationship between variance in the spatial structure of species pairs and topographic heterogeneity across sites. We interpret this pattern as evidence of pervasive niche differentiation, which increases in importance with increasing environmental heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130502
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences
Volume280
Issue number1764
Early online date19 Jun 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • species coexistence
  • tropical forest
  • niche differentiation
  • neutral theory
  • spatial pattern
  • cross-pair overlap distribution
  • Lankan dipterocarp forest
  • habitaty associations
  • beta-diversity
  • patterns
  • communities
  • abundance
  • distributions
  • availability
  • mechanisms

Cite this

Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests : spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity. / Brown, C.; Burslem, D. F. R. P.; Illian, J. B.; Bao, L.; Brockelman, W.; Cao, M.; Chang, L. W.; Dattaraja, H. S.; Davies, S.; Gunatilleke, C. V. S.; Gunatilleke, I. A. U. N.; Huang, J.; Kassim, A. R.; LaFrankie, J. V.; Lian, J.; Lin, L.; Ma, K.; Mi, X.; Nathalang, A.; Noor, S.; Ong, P.; Sukumar, R.; Su, S. H.; Sun, I. F.; Suresh, H. S.; Tan, S.; Thompson, J.; Uriarte, M.; Valencia, R.; Yap, S. L.; Ye, W.; Law, R.

In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, Vol. 280, No. 1764, 20130502, 07.08.2013.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Brown, C, Burslem, DFRP, Illian, JB, Bao, L, Brockelman, W, Cao, M, Chang, LW, Dattaraja, HS, Davies, S, Gunatilleke, CVS, Gunatilleke, IAUN, Huang, J, Kassim, AR, LaFrankie, JV, Lian, J, Lin, L, Ma, K, Mi, X, Nathalang, A, Noor, S, Ong, P, Sukumar, R, Su, SH, Sun, IF, Suresh, HS, Tan, S, Thompson, J, Uriarte, M, Valencia, R, Yap, SL, Ye, W & Law, R 2013, 'Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests: spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences, vol. 280, no. 1764, 20130502. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.0502
Brown, C. ; Burslem, D. F. R. P. ; Illian, J. B. ; Bao, L. ; Brockelman, W. ; Cao, M. ; Chang, L. W. ; Dattaraja, H. S. ; Davies, S. ; Gunatilleke, C. V. S. ; Gunatilleke, I. A. U. N. ; Huang, J. ; Kassim, A. R. ; LaFrankie, J. V. ; Lian, J. ; Lin, L. ; Ma, K. ; Mi, X. ; Nathalang, A. ; Noor, S. ; Ong, P. ; Sukumar, R. ; Su, S. H. ; Sun, I. F. ; Suresh, H. S. ; Tan, S. ; Thompson, J. ; Uriarte, M. ; Valencia, R. ; Yap, S. L. ; Ye, W. ; Law, R. / Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests : spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity. In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences. 2013 ; Vol. 280, No. 1764.
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title = "Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests: spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity",
abstract = "Neutral and niche theories give contrasting explanations for the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity. Both have some empirical support, but methods to disentangle their effects have not yet been developed. We applied a statistical measure of spatial structure to data from 14 large tropical forest plots to test a prediction of niche theory that is incompatible with neutral theory: that species in heterogeneous environments should separate out in space according to their niche preferences. We chose plots across a range of topographic heterogeneity, and tested whether pairwise spatial associations among species were more variable in more heterogeneous sites. We found strong support for this prediction, based on a strong positive relationship between variance in the spatial structure of species pairs and topographic heterogeneity across sites. We interpret this pattern as evidence of pervasive niche differentiation, which increases in importance with increasing environmental heterogeneity.",
keywords = "species coexistence, tropical forest, niche differentiation, neutral theory, spatial pattern, cross-pair overlap distribution, Lankan dipterocarp forest, habitaty associations, beta-diversity, patterns, communities, abundance, distributions, availability, mechanisms",
author = "C. Brown and Burslem, {D. F. R. P.} and Illian, {J. B.} and L. Bao and W. Brockelman and M. Cao and Chang, {L. W.} and Dattaraja, {H. S.} and S. Davies and Gunatilleke, {C. V. S.} and Gunatilleke, {I. A. U. N.} and J. Huang and Kassim, {A. R.} and LaFrankie, {J. V.} and J. Lian and L. Lin and K. Ma and X. Mi and A. Nathalang and S. Noor and P. Ong and R. Sukumar and Su, {S. H.} and Sun, {I. F.} and Suresh, {H. S.} and S. Tan and J. Thompson and M. Uriarte and R. Valencia and Yap, {S. L.} and W. Ye and R. Law",
note = "Funding statement The CTFS plots were individually supported from a number of sources, details of which are given in the electronic supplementary material, text S2. C.B. was financially supported by a Microsoft PhD Scholarship. Acknowledgements We are grateful for the assistance of Yu-Wen Pan, Sandeep Pulla, Hugo Romero-Saltos and anonymous referees who provided helpful comments on the manuscript. The census and topographic data used here may be accessed directly via individual plot Principal Investigators. {\circledC} 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - Multispecies coexistence of trees in tropical forests

T2 - spatial signals of topographic niche differentiation increase with environmental heterogeneity

AU - Brown, C.

AU - Burslem, D. F. R. P.

AU - Illian, J. B.

AU - Bao, L.

AU - Brockelman, W.

AU - Cao, M.

AU - Chang, L. W.

AU - Dattaraja, H. S.

AU - Davies, S.

AU - Gunatilleke, C. V. S.

AU - Gunatilleke, I. A. U. N.

AU - Huang, J.

AU - Kassim, A. R.

AU - LaFrankie, J. V.

AU - Lian, J.

AU - Lin, L.

AU - Ma, K.

AU - Mi, X.

AU - Nathalang, A.

AU - Noor, S.

AU - Ong, P.

AU - Sukumar, R.

AU - Su, S. H.

AU - Sun, I. F.

AU - Suresh, H. S.

AU - Tan, S.

AU - Thompson, J.

AU - Uriarte, M.

AU - Valencia, R.

AU - Yap, S. L.

AU - Ye, W.

AU - Law, R.

N1 - Funding statement The CTFS plots were individually supported from a number of sources, details of which are given in the electronic supplementary material, text S2. C.B. was financially supported by a Microsoft PhD Scholarship. Acknowledgements We are grateful for the assistance of Yu-Wen Pan, Sandeep Pulla, Hugo Romero-Saltos and anonymous referees who provided helpful comments on the manuscript. The census and topographic data used here may be accessed directly via individual plot Principal Investigators. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

PY - 2013/8/7

Y1 - 2013/8/7

N2 - Neutral and niche theories give contrasting explanations for the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity. Both have some empirical support, but methods to disentangle their effects have not yet been developed. We applied a statistical measure of spatial structure to data from 14 large tropical forest plots to test a prediction of niche theory that is incompatible with neutral theory: that species in heterogeneous environments should separate out in space according to their niche preferences. We chose plots across a range of topographic heterogeneity, and tested whether pairwise spatial associations among species were more variable in more heterogeneous sites. We found strong support for this prediction, based on a strong positive relationship between variance in the spatial structure of species pairs and topographic heterogeneity across sites. We interpret this pattern as evidence of pervasive niche differentiation, which increases in importance with increasing environmental heterogeneity.

AB - Neutral and niche theories give contrasting explanations for the maintenance of tropical tree species diversity. Both have some empirical support, but methods to disentangle their effects have not yet been developed. We applied a statistical measure of spatial structure to data from 14 large tropical forest plots to test a prediction of niche theory that is incompatible with neutral theory: that species in heterogeneous environments should separate out in space according to their niche preferences. We chose plots across a range of topographic heterogeneity, and tested whether pairwise spatial associations among species were more variable in more heterogeneous sites. We found strong support for this prediction, based on a strong positive relationship between variance in the spatial structure of species pairs and topographic heterogeneity across sites. We interpret this pattern as evidence of pervasive niche differentiation, which increases in importance with increasing environmental heterogeneity.

KW - species coexistence

KW - tropical forest

KW - niche differentiation

KW - neutral theory

KW - spatial pattern

KW - cross-pair overlap distribution

KW - Lankan dipterocarp forest

KW - habitaty associations

KW - beta-diversity

KW - patterns

KW - communities

KW - abundance

KW - distributions

KW - availability

KW - mechanisms

U2 - 10.1098/rspb.2013.0502

DO - 10.1098/rspb.2013.0502

M3 - Article

VL - 280

JO - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

JF - Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B, Biological Sciences

SN - 0962-8452

IS - 1764

M1 - 20130502

ER -