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Article

Changes in Phylogenetic Community Structure of the Seedling Layer Following Hurricane Disturbance in a Human-Impacted Tropical Forest

1
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
2
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, P.O. Box 0843-03092, Balboa Ancón, Panama
3
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA
4
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, P.O. Box 70377, San Juan, PR 009325-8377, USA
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Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA
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Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
7
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(9), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090556
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 1 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Responses to Large-Scale Wind Disturbance)
Disturbance plays a key role in shaping forest composition and diversity. We used a community phylogeny and long-term forest dynamics data to investigate biotic and abiotic factors shaping tropical forest regeneration following both human and natural disturbance. Specifically, we examined shifts in seedling phylogenetic and functional (i.e., seed mass) community structure over a decade following a major hurricane in a human-impacted forest in Puerto Rico. Phylogenetic relatedness of the seedling community decreased in the first five years post-hurricane and then increased, largely driven by changes in the abundance of a common palm species. Functional structure (based on seed mass) became increasingly clustered through time, due to canopy closure causing small-seeded, light-demanding species to decline in abundance. Seedling neighbor density and phylogenetic relatedness negatively affected seedling survival, which likely acted to reduce phylogenetic relatedness within seedling plots. Across the study site, areas impacted in the past by high-intensity land use had lower or similar phylogenetic relatedness of seedling communities than low-intensity past land use areas, reflecting interactive effects of human and natural disturbance. Our study demonstrates how phylogenetic and functional information offer insights into the role of biotic and abiotic factors structuring forest recovery following disturbance. View Full-Text
Keywords: community assembly; cyclone; density dependence; environmental filtering; hurricane; Luquillo; phylogenetic diversity; Puerto Rico; regeneration niche; seed mass; succession; tropical forest dynamics; wind disturbance community assembly; cyclone; density dependence; environmental filtering; hurricane; Luquillo; phylogenetic diversity; Puerto Rico; regeneration niche; seed mass; succession; tropical forest dynamics; wind disturbance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Comita, L.S.; Uriarte, M.; Forero-Montaña, J.; Kress, W.J.; Swenson, N.G.; Thompson, J.; Umaña, M.N.; Zimmerman, J.K. Changes in Phylogenetic Community Structure of the Seedling Layer Following Hurricane Disturbance in a Human-Impacted Tropical Forest. Forests 2018, 9, 556. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090556

AMA Style

Comita LS, Uriarte M, Forero-Montaña J, Kress WJ, Swenson NG, Thompson J, Umaña MN, Zimmerman JK. Changes in Phylogenetic Community Structure of the Seedling Layer Following Hurricane Disturbance in a Human-Impacted Tropical Forest. Forests. 2018; 9(9):556. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090556

Chicago/Turabian Style

Comita, Liza S., María Uriarte, Jimena Forero-Montaña, W. J. Kress, Nathan G. Swenson, Jill Thompson, María N. Umaña, and Jess K. Zimmerman. 2018. "Changes in Phylogenetic Community Structure of the Seedling Layer Following Hurricane Disturbance in a Human-Impacted Tropical Forest" Forests 9, no. 9: 556. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090556

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