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Abstract Detail

Tropical Biology

Pasiche Lisboa, Carlos Jose [1], Hulshof, Catherine M. [2], Sastre-De Jesus, Ines [3].

Elevation and historical events shape moss community traits and functional diversity in Puerto Rico.

Moss communities have life history strategies (r and k continuum) with resources allocated between sexual reproduction (high numbers of small-sized spores, r) or gametophyte growth traits (larger plants, k) to adapt to environmental stress (e.g. low water availability). In Puerto Rico (PR), increases in elevation are coupled with increases in precipitation, which likely drives moss community assemblages across elevation. However, it is not well known how environmental properties structure moss species occurrence and community-wide functional traits (or strategies) across elevation gradients. Thus, our goal was to assess how moss species occurrence (per family) and community functional traits changed along an elevation gradient from sea level to about 1300 m in PR. To do this we recorded, the occurrence of moss species within 300 m elevation belt classes, and maximum spore size, stem height, and leaf length from the literature and herbarium databases. We then evaluated species occurrence per family along the elevation gradient using logistic regression analyses. Community trait partitioning and functional diversity analyses were evaluated against null models. We found that species occurrence for some moss families differed along the elevation gradient, and overall functional richness increased with elevation. Species in some families (e.g. Calymperaceae and Fissidentaceae) were more likely found at lower elevations; while, others (Dicranaceae and Meteoraceae) were more likely found at higher elevations. Maximum spore size, plant height, and leaf length of moss communities increased with elevation, with community-wide traits at lower elevations more functionally similar than moss communities at higher elevations. The increase in functional similarity with elevation may reflect the extensive deforestation at the turn of the 19th century, where lower elevation forests were cleared for agriculture allowing for mostly r-selected strategies with similar traits to maximize establishment in different habitats. At higher elevations, mature to intact forest remained, allowing for mixed r to k-selected strategies but favoring k-selected life strategies that develop bigger size to horizontally expand in a habitat and compete with other species. Further studies are needed to understand species and trait partitioning along elevation, especially in the context of recent forest cover and climate change in PR.

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1 - University of Manitoba, 66 Chancellors Cir, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Canada
2 - University of Puerto Rico, Departamento de Biología, Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, 00681, USA
3 - University of Puerto Rico, Recinto Universitario de Mayagüez, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, 00681, United States

funtional diversity
community assemblage
Puerto Rico
Functional traits.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 21, Tropical Biology
Location: Fort Worth Ballroom 1/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 8:30 AM
Number: 21001
Abstract ID:382
Candidate for Awards:None

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