Different “metabolomic niches” of the highly diverse tree species of the French Guiana rainforests

Tropical rainforests harbor a particularly high plant diversity. We hypothesize that potential causes underlying this high diversity should be linked to distinct overall functionality (defense and growth allocation, anti-stress mechanisms, reproduction) among the different sympatric taxa. In this study we tested the hypothesis of the existence of a metabolomic niche related to a species-specific differential use and allocation of metabolites. We tested this hypothesis by comparing leaf metabolomic profiles of 54 species in two rainforests of French Guiana. Species identity explained most of the variation in the metabolome, with a species-specific metabolomic profile across dry and wet seasons. In addition to this “homeostatic” species-specific metabolomic profile significantly linked to phylogenetic distances, also part of the variance (flexibility) of the metabolomic profile was explained by season within a single species. Our results support the hypothesis of the high diversity in tropical forest being related to a species-specific metabolomic niche and highlight ecometabolomics as a tool to identify this species functional diversity related and consistent with the ecological niche theory

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Gargallo-Garriga Albert, Sardans Jordi, Granda Victor, Llusià Joan, Peguero Guille, Asensio Dolores, Ogaya Romà, Urbina Ifigenia, Van Langenhove Leandro, Verryckt Lore T., Chave Jérome, Courtois Elodie A., Stahl Clément, Grau Oriol, Klem Karel, Urban Otmar, Janssens Ivan A., Peñuelas Josep (2020). Different “metabolomic niches” of the highly diverse tree species of the French Guiana rainforests. Scientific Reports. 10 (1). 6937 (10p.). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63891-y, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00625/73686/

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