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Environmental variation is a major predictor of global trait turnover in mammals


Holt, BG and Costa, GC and Penone, C and Lessard, JP and Brooks, TM and Davidson, AD and Hedges, SB and Radeloff, VC and Rahbek, C and Rondinini, C and Graham, CH, Environmental variation is a major predictor of global trait turnover in mammals, Journal of Biogeography, 45, (1) pp. 225-237. ISSN 0305-0270 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/jbi.13091


Aim: To evaluate how environment and evolutionary history interact to influence global patterns of mammal trait diversity (a combination of 14 morphological and life-history traits).

Location: The global terrestrial environment.

Taxon: Terrestrial mammals.

Methods: We calculated patterns of spatial turnover for mammalian traits and phylogenetic lineages using the mean nearest taxon distance. We then used a variance partitioning approach to establish the relative contribution of trait conservatism, ecological adaptation and clade specific ecological preferences on global trait turnover.

Results: We provide a global scale analysis of trait turnover across mammalian terrestrial assemblages, which demonstrates that phylogenetic turnover by itself does not predict trait turnover better than random expectations. Conversely, trait turnover is consistently more strongly associated with environmental variation than predicted by our null models. The influence of clade-specific ecological preferences, reflected by the shared component of phylogenetic turnover and environmental variation, was considerably higher than expectations. Although global patterns of trait turnover are dependent on the trait under consideration, there is a consistent association between trait turnover and environmental predictive variables, regardless of the trait considered.

Main conclusions: Our results suggest that changes in phylogenetic composition are not always coupled with changes in trait composition on a global scale and that environmental conditions are strongly associated with patterns of trait composition across species assemblages, both within and across phylogenetic clades.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:beta diversity, convergence, distance matrices, mammals, mean nearest taxon distance, multipleregression, niche conservatism, phylogeny, traits
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Coastal or estuarine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Brooks, TM (Dr Thomas Brooks)
ID Code:152662
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2022-08-23
Last Modified:2022-08-23

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