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Open AccessArticle

Role of the Dominant Species on the Distributions of Neighbor Species in a Subtropical Forest

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Key Laboratory of Ecology of Rare and Endangered Species and Environmental Protection, Ministry of Education, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541006, China
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College of Life and Environmental Science, Guilin University of Electronic Technology, Guilin 541004, China
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Key Laboratory of Vegetation Restoration and Management of South China Botanical Garden of Degraded Ecosystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
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Center of Plant Ecology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, China
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Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H1, Canada
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College of Life Science, Anqing Normal University, Anqin 246011, China
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Co-Innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, College of Biology and the Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Authors made equal contribution.
Forests 2020, 11(3), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11030352
Received: 24 February 2020 / Revised: 18 March 2020 / Accepted: 18 March 2020 / Published: 20 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling of Species Distribution and Biodiversity in Forests)
Understanding the role of dominant species in structuring the distribution of neighbor species is an important part of understanding community assembly, a central goal of ecology. Phylogenetic information helps resolve the multitude of processes driving community assembly and the importance of evolution in the assembly process. In this study, we classified species in a 20-ha subtropical forest in southern China into groups with different degrees of phylogenetic relatedness to the dominant species Castanopsis chinensis. Species surrounding individuals of C. chinensis were sampled in an equal area annulus at six spatial scales, counting the percent of relatives and comparing this to permutation tests of a null model and variance among species groups. The results demonstrated that dominant species affected their relatives depending on community successional stage. Theory would predict that competitive exclusion and density-dependence mechanisms should lead to neighbors that are more distant in phylogeny from C. chinensis. However, in mature forests distant relatives were subjected to competitive repulsion by C. chinensis, while environment filtering led to fewer distant species, regardless of scale. A variety of biological and non-biological factors appear to result in a U-shaped quantitative distribution determined by the dominant species C. chinensis. Scale effects also influenced the dominant species. As a dominant species, C. chinensis played an important role in structuring the species distributions and coexistence of neighbor species in a subtropical forest. View Full-Text
Keywords: Dominant species; Relative groups; Phylogenetic distance; Quantitative distribution; Phylogenetic relationships; Permutation test Dominant species; Relative groups; Phylogenetic distance; Quantitative distribution; Phylogenetic relationships; Permutation test
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Wei, S.; Li, L.; Lian, J.; Nielsen, S.E.; Wang, Z.; Mao, L.; Ouyang, X.; Cao, H.; Ye, W. Role of the Dominant Species on the Distributions of Neighbor Species in a Subtropical Forest. Forests 2020, 11, 352.

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