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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #219062

Title: Running up the scale: From plant traits to beta diversity

item Goslee, Sarah

Submitted to: US-International Association for Landscape Ecology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2007
Publication Date: 4/6/2008
Citation: Goslee, S.C. 2008. Running up the scale: From plant traits to beta diversity. US-International Association for Landscape Ecology. US-IALE Program. p. 63.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.

Technical Abstract: Landscape ecologists often consider a hierarchy of scales, from individual species to communities to landscapes. Beta diversity can anchor a conceptual framework linking major concepts in ecology, building from plant physiological and structural traits that determine the fundamental niche, through community assembly within a site, to species turnover along an environmental gradient. A simple graphical model is used to portray this building-up of pattern from a single species to a landscape. This model requires only four species functional parameters: niche center, niche width (along an arbitrary environmental gradient), and two resource use parameters (for an arbitrary resource). These parameters are sufficient to define the fundamental niche; the realized niche can be determined either from order of species arrival or via a fifth species parameter describing competition. Species interact to define a constantly-changing series communities along the environmental gradient. This basic model is sufficient to create complex patterns within and between communities. The model provides a framework for considering processes ranging from community assembly and species deletions or introductions to the effects of environmental change. While far more simplistic than realistic, this approach nonetheless can be used to guide further research into the ways in which functional traits of real species shape alpha and beta diversity on the landscape. A clear understanding of the linkages among major community and landscape consequences of species composition has important implications, as in many cases management is applied to species composition at the field scale, but has consequences far beyond that single site.