Environmental and spatial drivers for wetland plant communities in a freshwater lake: Reduced coupling of species and functional turnover

Fu H., Zhou Y., Yuan G., Peng H., Wu A., Li W., ...More

ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING, vol.159, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 159
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2020.106092
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Aqualine, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, Biotechnology Research Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Environment Index, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Poyang Lake wetland, Beta diversity, Spatial scale, Functional redundancy, Decoupling of species and functions, BETA-DIVERSITY, DISPERSAL TRAITS, DEPTH GRADIENT, ROOT TRAITS, PATTERNS, TOLERANCE, MECHANISMS, REDUNDANCY, FRAMEWORK, DURATION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


Disentangling the contributions of environmental gradients and spatial distance as species distribution drivers is a crucial topic of community ecology. Here, we sampled wetland plant communities at 779 plots from 52 sites and measured 12 key functional traits of 52 plant species in Poyang Lake, China. Using the generalized dissimilarity model (GDM), we examined which environmental variables and geographic distances best predicted the variations in community turnover (Simpson dissimilarity coefficients) at two spatial scales (i.e., plot and site) and compared the turnover patterns between species and functional approaches. We found that both species and functional turnover were typically higher at plot than site scale and that species turnover were higher than functional turnover across the studied scales. At plot scale, the GDM results showed that the best predictor of species turnover was elevation followed by soil moisture and geographic distance, while geographic distance was the best predictor at site scale. However, functional turnover was weak or showed no remarkable responses to either environmental variables or geographic distance. Notably, the communities showed a very high functional redundancy with slow shifts across the environmental gradients at both scales studied. This strongly suggests that most species were functionally redundant and that species replacement across environmental gradients and the two studied spatial scales is restricted to functionally identical species in the Poyang Lake wetland. Our results demonstrated that the coupling between plant species and functional turnover is reduced, which may allow the wetland plant community to maintain its ecosystem functioning when subjected to water level fluctuations.