The ecological causes of functional distinctiveness in communities

Type Article
Acceptance Date 2022-10-04 IN PRESS
Language English
Author(s) Munoz FrançoisORCID1, Klausmeier Christopher2, Gaüzère Pierre3, Kandlikar Gaurav4, Litchman Elena2, Mouquet Nicolas5, Ostling Annette6, Thuiller Wilfried7, Algar Adam8, Auber ArnaudORCID9, Cadotte MarcORCID10, Delalandre Leo11, Denelle Pierre12, Enquist Brian13, Fortunel Claire14, Grenié Matthias15, Loiseau Nicolas16, Mahaut Lucie11, Maire Anthony17, Mouillot David18, Violle Cyrille5, Kraft Nathan19
Affiliation(s) 1 : Université Grenoble Alpes, france
2 : Michigan State University, USA
3 : Université Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, France
4 : University of Missouri, USA
5 : CNRS, France
6 : The University of Texas at Austin, USA
7 : Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine, France
8 : University of Nottingham, UK
9 : IFREMER, France
10 : University of Toronto Scarborough, canada
11 : Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, France
12 : Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Germany
13 : University of Arizona, USA
14 : IRD, France
15 : German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany
16 : MARBEC, France
17 : Electricite de France SA, France
18 : Université Montpellier-CNRS-IFREMER, France
19 : UCLA, USA
Source Submitted to Ecology Letters (Authorea, Inc.) In Press
DOI 10.22541/au.166488862.28762630/v1
Note This is a preprint and has not been peer reviewed. Data may be preliminary.
Keyword(s) coexistence, community assembly, ecological interactions, fitness landscape, functional traits, source-sink dynamics

Although how rare species persist in communities is a major ecological question, the critical phenotypic dimension of rarity is broadly overlooked. Recent work has shown that evaluating functional distinctiveness, the average trait distance of a species to other species in a community, offers essential insights into biodiversity dynamics, ecosystem functioning, and biological conservation. However, the ecological mechanisms underlying the persistence of functionally distinct species are poorly understood. Here we propose a heterogeneous fitness landscape framework, whereby functional dimensions encompass peaks representing trait combinations that yield positive intrinsic growth rates in a community. We identify four fundamental causes leading to the persistence of functionally distinct species in a community. First, environmental heterogeneity or alternative phenotypic designs can drive positive population growth of functionally distinct species. Second, sink populations with negative growth can deviate from local fitness peaks and be functionally distinct. Third, species found at the margin of the fitness landscape can persist but be functionally distinct. Fourth, biotic interactions (either positive or negative) can dynamically alter the fitness landscape. We offer examples of these four cases and some guidelines to distinguish among them. In addition to these deterministic processes, we also explore how stochastic dispersal limitation can yield functional distinctiveness.

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Munoz François, Klausmeier Christopher, Gaüzère Pierre, Kandlikar Gaurav, Litchman Elena, Mouquet Nicolas, Ostling Annette, Thuiller Wilfried, Algar Adam, Auber Arnaud, Cadotte Marc, Delalandre Leo, Denelle Pierre, Enquist Brian, Fortunel Claire, Grenié Matthias, Loiseau Nicolas, Mahaut Lucie, Maire Anthony, Mouillot David, Violle Cyrille, Kraft Nathan The ecological causes of functional distinctiveness in communities. Submitted to Ecology Letters IN PRESS. Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :