Document Detail

Functional traits explain phytoplankton community structure and seasonal dynamics in a marine ecosystem.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23033839     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
A fundamental yet elusive goal of ecology is to predict the structure of communities from the environmental conditions they experience. Trait-based approaches to terrestrial plant communities have shown that functional traits can help reveal the mechanisms underlying community assembly, but such approaches have not been tested on the microbes that dominate ecosystem processes in the ocean. Here, we test whether functional traits can explain community responses to seasonal environmental fluctuation, using a time series of the phytoplankton of the English Channel. We show that interspecific variation in response to major limiting resources, light and nitrate, can be well-predicted by lab-measured traits characterising light utilisation, nitrate utilisation and maximum growth rate. As these relationships were predicted a priori, using independently measured traits, our results show that functional traits provide a strong mechanistic foundation for understanding the structure and dynamics of ecological communities.
Kyle F Edwards; Elena Litchman; Christopher A Klausmeier; James Elser
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Publication Detail:
Type:  LETTER     Date:  2012-10-4
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology letters     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1461-0248     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-4     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101121949     Medline TA:  Ecol Lett     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University, Hickory Corners, MI, 49060, USA.
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