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Floral colour versus phylogeny in structuring subalpine flowering communities

Jamie R. McEwen and Jana C. Vamosi
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 277, No. 1696 (7 October 2010), pp. 2957-2965
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27862404
Page Count: 9
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Floral colour versus phylogeny in structuring subalpine flowering communities
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Abstract

The relative number of seeds produced by competing species can influence the community structure; yet, traits that influence seed production, such as pollinator attraction and floral colour, have received little attention in community ecology. Here, we analyse floral colour using reflectance spectra that include near-UV and examined the phylogenetic signal of floral colour. We found that coflowering species within communities tended to be more divergent in floral colour than expected by chance. However, coflowering species were not phylogenetically dispersed, in part due to our finding that floral colour is a labile trait with a weak phylogenetic signal. Furthermore, while we found that locally rare and common species exhibited equivalent floral colour distances from their coflowering neighbours, frequent species (those found in more communities) exhibited higher colour distances from their coflowering neighbours. Our findings support recent studies, which have found that (i) plant lineages exhibit frequent floral colour transitions; and (ii) traits that influence local population dynamics contribute to community structure.

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