Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (02): 111-116.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2020.08.003

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Phylogenetic relatedness of woody angiosperm assemblages and its environmental determinants along a subtropical elevational gradient in China

Juan Yuea,b, Rong Lia   

  1. a CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China
    b University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
  • Received:2020-03-12 Revised:2020-08-13 Online:2021-04-25 Published:2021-05-20
  • Contact: Rong Li
  • Supported by:
    This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 31770228, 31570212, 31370243), the Belt and Road Project of West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yunnan Science and Technology Innovation Team Program (grant no. 2019HC015), the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (grant no. 2019QZKK0502), and the Biodiversity Survey and Assessment Project of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, The People’s Republic of China, China (grant no. 2019HJ2096001006).

Abstract: The species composition of plant communities is determined by a number of factors, including current environmental conditions as well as biogeographical and evolutionary history. Despite evidence that plant diversity decreases and species relatedness increases along latitudinal and environmental gradients (e.g., low temperatures), it remains unclear whether these same patterns occur along elevational gradients, especially in the subtropical mountainous areas harboring rich biodiversity. In this study, we explored the pattern of phylogenetic relatedness of woody angiosperm assemblages and examined the effects of temperature variables on the phylogenetic relatedness among angiosperm woody plants using generalized linear model in subtropical forest communities along a broad elevational gradient in the Dulong Valley of Yunnan Province, China. Our results showed that woody angiosperm species in local forest plots tend to be more phylogenetically related at higher elevations and in areas with lower temperatures. Additionally, winter average temperature, rather than mean annual temperature, is a major predictor of the pattern of increasing phylogenetic relatedness with increasing elevation. This finding is consistent with the prediction of ‘Tropical Niche Conservatism’ hypothesis, which highlights the role of niche constraints in driving phylogenetic community assembly along an elevational gradient.

Key words: Dulong Valley, Ecological tolerance, Habitat filtering, Niche conservatism, Woody plants