Plant Diversity ›› 2022, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (03): 271-278.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.11.002

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Adaptive genetic diversity of dominant species contributes to species co-existence and community assembly

Qiao-Ming Lia,b, Chao-Nan Caic,d, Wu-Mei Xue, Min Caoa, Li-Qing Shaa, Lu-Xiang Lina, Tian-Hua Hef   

  1. a CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, 666303, Yunnan, China;
    b Center of Plant Ecology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, 666303, Yunnan, China;
    c School of Advanced Study, Taizhou University, Taizhou, 318000, Zhejiang, China;
    d Zhejiang Provincial Key Laboratory of Plant Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation, Taizhou University, Taizhou, 318000, Zhejiang, China;
    e School of Energy and Environment Science, Yunnan Normal University, Kunming, 650500, Yunnan, China;
    f School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University, PO Box U1987, Perth, WA, 6845, Australia
  • Received:2021-04-12 Revised:2021-10-28 Online:2022-05-25 Published:2022-06-21
  • Contact: Qiao-Ming Li,
  • Supported by:
    This research was supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Grant No. XDB31000000, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31370267).

Abstract: The synthesis of evolutionary biology and community ecology aims to understand how genetic variation within one species can shape community properties and how the ecological properties of a community can drive the evolution of a species. A rarely explored aspect is whether the interaction of genetic variation and community properties depends on the species' ecological role. Here we investigated the interactions among environmental factors, species diversity, and the within-species genetic diversity of species with different ecological roles. Using high-throughput DNA sequencing, we genotyped a canopy-dominant tree species, Parashorea chinensis, and an understory-abundant species, Pittosporopsis kerrii, from fifteen plots in Xishuangbanna tropical seasonal rainforest and estimated their adaptive, neutral and total genetic diversity; we also surveyed species diversity and assayed key soil nutrients. Structural equation modelling revealed that soil nitrogen availability created an opposing effect in species diversity and adaptive genetic diversity of the canopy-dominant Pa. chinensis. The increased adaptive genetic diversity of Pa. chinensis led to greater species diversity by promoting co-existence. Increased species diversity reduced the adaptive genetic diversity of the dominant understory species, Pi. kerrii, which was promoted by the adaptive genetic diversity of the canopy-dominant Pa. chinensis. However, such relationships were absent when neutral genetic diversity or total genetic diversity were used in the model. Our results demonstrated the important ecological interaction between adaptive genetic diversity and species diversity, but the pattern of the interaction depends on the identity of the species. Our results highlight the significant ecological role of dominant species in competitive interactions and regulation of community structure.

Key words: Adaptive genetic diversity, Community assembly, Dominant species, Species-genetic diversity correlation (SGDC), Species co-existence, Structural equation modelling