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Classifying Plants into Groups on the Basis of Associations of Individual Traits--Evidence from Australian Semi-Arid Woodlands
Michelle R. Leishman and Mark Westoby
Journal of Ecology
Vol. 80, No. 3 (Sep., 1992), pp. 417-424
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2260687
Page Count: 8
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1. A multivariate analysis of 43 traits of 300 species from semi-arid woodlands in western New South Wales, Australia is described. The 43 traits encompass vegetative, life-history, phenological and seed-biology characters. 2. Five main groups of species were produced which corresponded largely to growth form. These groups were (i) perennial forbs and C3 grasses, (ii) subshrubs of the family Chenopodiaceae, (iii) perennial C4 grasses, (iv) trees and shrubs and (v) annual forbs and grasses. The traits associated with these groups were vegetative, life-history and phenological. Seed-biology traits were poorly associated with the groups. 3. There were higher percentages of associations within and between vegetative, life-history and phenological traits, than within seed-biology traits. This has important consequences for models of vegetation dynamics in the context of species migrations under global climate change, as these models group species largely on the basis of their vegetative and life-history attributes.
Journal of Ecology © 1992 British Ecological Society