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Phylogenetic Structure of Tree Species across Different Life Stages from Seedlings to Canopy Trees in a Subtropical Evergreen Broad-Leaved Forest.


ABSTRACT: Investigating patterns of phylogenetic structure across different life stages of tree species in forests is crucial to understanding forest community assembly, and investigating forest gap influence on the phylogenetic structure of forest regeneration is necessary for understanding forest community assembly. Here, we examine the phylogenetic structure of tree species across life stages from seedlings to canopy trees, as well as forest gap influence on the phylogenetic structure of forest regeneration in a forest of the subtropical region in China. We investigate changes in phylogenetic relatedness (measured as NRI) of tree species from seedlings, saplings, treelets to canopy trees; we compare the phylogenetic turnover (measured as ?NRI) between canopy trees and seedlings in forest understory with that between canopy trees and seedlings in forest gaps. We found that phylogenetic relatedness generally increases from seedlings through saplings and treelets up to canopy trees, and that phylogenetic relatedness does not differ between seedlings in forest understory and those in forest gaps, but phylogenetic turnover between canopy trees and seedlings in forest understory is lower than that between canopy trees and seedlings in forest gaps. We conclude that tree species tend to be more closely related from seedling to canopy layers, and that forest gaps alter the seedling phylogenetic turnover of the studied forest. It is likely that the increasing trend of phylogenetic clustering as tree stem size increases observed in this subtropical forest is primarily driven by abiotic filtering processes, which select a set of closely related evergreen broad-leaved tree species whose regeneration has adapted to the closed canopy environments of the subtropical forest developed under the regional monsoon climate.

SUBMITTER: Jin Y 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4476806 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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