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Phylogenetic Relatedness Limits Co‐occurrence at Fine Spatial Scales: Evidence from the Schoenoid Sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa

Jasper A. Slingsby and G. Anthony Verboom
The American Naturalist
Vol. 168, No. 1 (July 2006), pp. 14-27
DOI: 10.1086/505158
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/505158
Page Count: 14
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Phylogenetic Relatedness Limits Co‐occurrence at Fine Spatial Scales: Evidence from the Schoenoid Sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa
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Abstract

Abstract: Species co‐occurrence at fine spatial scales is expected to be nonrandom with respect to phylogeny because of the joint effects of evolutionary (trait convergence and conservatism) and ecological (competitive exclusion and habitat filtering) processes. We use data from 11 existing vegetation surveys to test whether co‐occurrence in schoenoid sedge assemblages in the Cape Floristic Region shows significant phylogenetic structuring and to examine whether this changes with the phylogenetic scale of the analysis. We provide evidence for phylogenetic overdispersion in an alliance of closely related species (the reticulate‐sheathed Tetraria clade) using both quantile regression analysis and a comparison between the mean observed and expected phylogenetic distances between co‐occurring species. Similar patterns are not evident when the analyses are performed at a broader phylogenetic scale. Examination of six functional traits suggests a general pattern of trait conservatism within the reticulate‐sheathed Tetraria clade, suggesting a potential role for interspecific competition in structuring co‐occurrence within this group. We suggest that phylogenetic overdispersion of communities may be common throughout many of the Cape lineages, since interspecific interactions are likely intensified in lineages with large numbers of species restricted to a small geographic area, and we discuss the potential implications for patterns of diversity in the Cape.

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