Abstract Detail


Kleinkopf, Joseph [1], Giblin, David [2], Marx, Hannah [3].

Testing a Hypothesis of Alpine Plant Community Assembly in the Cascades Range of Washington State.

Alpine habitats are among those most threatened by climate change. To better predict how alpine communities will be affected, and to better understand how we can protect these habitats, characterizing the ecology and evolutionary history of alpine communities is of utmost importance. Here, we ask the question, what processes underlie the assembly of alpine plant communities in the Cascades Range of Washington State? We hypothesized that environmental filtering, whereby the extreme conditions of the alpine tundra filter which taxa persist and which do not, is a major process in alpine plant community assembly. Presence-absence data for each vascular plant taxon was collected from 11 alpine summits (communities) across the Cascades Range in Washington State and a phylogeny for each community was constructed using a megaphylogeny approach. A regional species pool of vascular plant species from the Cascades Range in Washington State was used to calculate metrics of phylogenetic diversity for each community. Our findings show significant overdispersion (species less closely related than expected) for some alpine communities, significant clustering (species more closely related than expected) for other alpine communities, and phylogenetic structuring of some alpine communities that do not depart from expected. Metrics of phylogenetic beta diversity suggest more turnover than expected between some pairs of alpine communities, less turnover than expected between some pairs of alpine communities, and expected amounts of turnover between other pairs of alpine communities. Our mixed results refute our hypothesis that environmental filtering is the sole process structuring alpine plant communities. Because it is likely that many processes contribute to the structuring of plant communities in the alpine, we expect that expanding the number of communities sampled and incorporating trait and environmental data may help us to better understand which processes are contributing to plant community assembly in the alpine.

1 - University of New Mexico, Department of Biology, 219 Yale Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USA
2 - University Of Washington, Box 355325, Seattle, WA, 98195, United States
3 - University Of New Mexico, Biology, 219 Yale Blvd. NE, Castetter Hall Room 1480, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, United States

community assembly
Cascades Range
Community Phylogenetics.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PEC007
Abstract ID:328
Candidate for Awards:None

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