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Phylogenetic relatedness and leaf functional traits, not introduced status, influence community assembly

Lemoine, Nathan P., Shue, Jessica, Verrico, Brittany, Erickson, David, Kress, W. John, Parker, John D.
Ecology 2015 v.96 no.10 pp. 2605-2612
chronosequences, forest stands, indigenous species, introduced species, invasive species, leaves, phylogeny, temperate forests
Considerable debate focuses on whether invasive species establish and become abundant by being functionally and phylogenetically distinct from native species, leading to a host of invasionā€specific hypotheses of community assembly. Few studies, however, have quantitatively assessed whether similar patterns of phylogenetic and functional similarity explain local abundance of both native and introduced species, which would suggest similar assembly mechanisms regardless of origin. Using a chronosequence of invaded temperate forest stands, we tested whether the occurrence and abundance of both introduced and native species were predicted by phylogenetic relatedness, functional overlap, and key environmental characteristics including forest age. Environmental filtering against functionally and phylogenetically distinct species strongly dictated the occurrence and abundance of both introduced and native species, with slight modifications of these patterns according to forest age. Thus, once functional and evolutionary novelty were quantified, introduced status provided little information about species' presence or abundance, indicating largely similar sorting mechanisms for both native and introduced species.