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Phylogenetic Analysis of Local-Scale Tree Soil Associations in a Lowland Moist Tropical Forest

By Laura A. Schreeg, W. John Kress, David L. Erickson and Nathan G. Swenson

Abstract

Background: Local plant-soil associations are commonly studied at the species-level, while associations at the level of nodes within a phylogeny have been less well explored. Understanding associations within a phylogenetic context, however, can improve our ability to make predictions across systems and can advance our understanding of the role of evolutionary history in structuring communities. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we quantified evolutionary signal in plant-soil associations using a DNA sequencebased community phylogeny and several soil variables (e.g., extractable phosphorus, aluminum and manganese, pH, and slope as a proxy for soil water). We used published plant distributional data from the 50-ha plot on Barro Colorado Island (BCI), Republic of Panamá. Our results suggest some groups of closely related species do share similar soil associations. Most notably, the node shared by Myrtaceae and Vochysiaceae was associated with high levels of aluminum, a potentially toxic element. The node shared by Apocynaceae was associated with high extractable phosphorus, a nutrient that could be limiting on a taxon specific level. The node shared by the large group of Laurales and Magnoliales was associated with both low extractable phosphorus and with steeper slope. Despite significant node-specific associations, this study detected little to no phylogeny-wide signal. We consider the majority of the ‘traits ’ (i.e., soil variables) evaluated to fall within the category of ecological traits. We suggest that, given this category of traits, phylogeny-wide signal might not be expected while nodespecifi

Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.352.1338
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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