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Adaptation of Ecological Systems: Compositional Patterns of Species and Morphological and Functional Traits

J. Montalvo, M. A. Casado, C. Levassor and F. D. Pineda
Journal of Vegetation Science
Vol. 2, No. 5 (Dec., 1991), pp. 655-666
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3236176
Page Count: 12
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Adaptation of Ecological Systems: Compositional Patterns of Species and Morphological and Functional Traits
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Abstract

The species composition and morphological and functional traits of ecological systems are compared. The significance of the resulting relationship is interpreted considering the underlying spatial environmental variation. Using 60 morphological and functional traits, a gradient of ecological persistence was detected in Mediterranean grasslands along an altitudinal range of ca. 1200 m. This pattern coincides with the one expressed by its taxonomic composition and thus permits 'styles of adaptation' of ecological systems to be recognized. Species composition may represent one of the possible combinations which optimises its environmental fit. The relevance to ecological theory of this pattern of grassland organization is discussed in the context of a hypothetical model of evolution.

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