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Phylogenetic Beta Diversity Metrics, Trait Evolution and Inferring the Functional Beta Diversity of Communities

By Nathan G. Swenson


The beta diversity of communities along gradients has fascinated ecologists for decades. Traditionally such studies have focused on the species composition of communities, but researchers are becoming increasingly interested in analyzing the phylogenetic composition in the hope of achieving mechanistic insights into community structure. To date many metrics of phylogenetic beta diversity have been published, but few empirical studies have been published. Further inferences made from such phylogenetic studies critically rely on the pattern of trait evolution. The present work provides a study of the phylogenetic dissimilarity of 96 tree communities in India. The work compares and contrasts eight metrics of phylogenetic dissimilarity, considers the role of phylogenetic signal in trait data and shows that environmental distance rather than spatial distance is the best correlate of phylogenetic dissimilarity in the study system

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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