ESJ55 Symposium in Fukuoka

"Phylogenetic approaches to community ecology"

March 17, 2008; 8:30-11:30am

Organizer:Tetsukazu Yahara (Kyushu University, Japan)



All traits of all species in a biological community have been changed and shaped through the history of evolution. Furthermore, coexistence of those species has been established through the history of migration and differentiation. Thus, nothing in community ecology makes sense except in the light of evolutionary history.  However, it is rather recent that evolutionary and phylogenetic approaches have been applied to community ecology. Some pioneering works have succeeded in combining phylogenetic approaches with ecological analyses to demonstrate phylogenetic under- and overdispersion in community samples, to discriminate in-situ or ex-situ evolution of niche use, and to test effects of migration, speciation and extinction upon diversity of a local community. The purpose of this symposium is to overview recent progress through cutting-edge studies in phylogenetic approaches to community ecology and to discuss perspectives for future development in this promising research field.

Phylogenetic approach to community ecology is important not only for deepening our understanding of community ecology but also developing conservation strategy for global and local biodiversity. Recently, DIVERSITAS organized a new core project "bioGENESIS" to increase the representation of evolutionary biologists in DIVERSITAS activities. Science Plan of the bioGENESIS projects includes tasks for assessing the evolutionary history of biotic assembly and the evolutionary factors shaping the distribution of diversity. This symposium is being organized as a part of activity of this new core project.  

 

  

Program

8:30-8:45 Tetsukazu Yahara (Department of Biology, Kyushu University):
A comparative phylogenetic approach to diversified flowering phenologies in forest communities

8:45-9:15 Nobuhiro Minaka (NIAES / University of Tokyo):
Measuring phylogenetic diversity - some statistical and computational problems

9:15-9:45 Daniel P. Faith (The Australian Museum):
Properties of different community-level phylogenetic indices

9:45-10:15 Campbell O. Webb (Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University), Steven M. Vamosi (University of Calgary), Stephen B. Heard (University of New Brunswick), Jana C. Vamosi (University of Calgary):
Emerging patterns in the comparative analysis of phylogenetic community structure

10:15-10:45 John J. Wiens (Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University):
Phylogenetic perspectives on community assembly and the competition-divergence-coexistence conundrum

10:45-11:15 Michael J. Donoghue (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University):
A biogeographic perspective on community assembly

11:15-11:30 Discussion

  

A comparative phylogenetic approach to diversified flowering phenologies in forest communities
Tetsukazu Yahara (Department of Biology, Kyushu University)

 After a brief introduction to the symposium, I will show my finding in patterns of flowering phonologies in forest communities as an example of phylogenetic approaches to community ecology. In temperate forests, some trees flower in spring and others in summer. In subtropical forests, trees flower in spring, summer, autumn and even in winter. Thus, there are more opportunities ("niches") for flowering in forests in the lower latitude/altitude. This gradient may explain why tree species diversity is higher in the lower latitude/altitude. Then, how often closely related species differ in flowering phenology? To answer this question, we need to know phylogeny of co-occurring tree species. By using a phylogenetic comparative method, I will show that closely related trees are more frequently diverged in flowering phenology than in spatial distribution.

  

Measuring phylogenetic diversity - some statistical and computational problems
Nobuhiro Minaka (NIAES / University of Tokyo)

 Indices of phylogenetic diversity defined on phylogenetic tree, including Daniel Faith's original definition of phylogenetic diversity index (Faith 1992), are briefly reviewed. The subtree that minimally covers a subset of terminal nodes (OTU's) with their associated internal branches has no explicit reference to the root of the full tree. The Gromov transform of phylogenetic diversity index is proposed which is defined for any triplet (x, y, r) such that x and y are terminal OTU's and r is the root of the full tree. Several properties of the transformed index are discussed. Our new software for estimating large-scale molecular phylogenetic trees implements the function of calculating this new index.

  

Properties of different community-level phylogenetic indices
Daniel P. Faith (The Australian Museum)

 PD (Faith 1992) is widely used in conservation biology, but it is not always appreciated that PD provides a framework for many different calculations, including PD complementarity, PD endemism, and probabilistic PD calculations integrating extinction probabilities (Witting & Loeschcke 1995). PD provides useful measures for community ecology, including PD clumping and dispersion indices. Because the PD calculus operates as if it is estimating indices at the level of features of organisms, any community measure conventionally applied at the species level can be transformed to a features-level measure using PD calculations. This flexibility counters recent claims (Hardy & Senterre 2007) that PD excludes the use of abundance and other information. For community ecology, the PD framework provides a natural set of community dissimilarity measures (see Ferrier et al 2007; Lozupone et al 2006). The PD/features analogue of the species-level Bray Curtis measure is a robust measure for ordination analyses, revealing the environmental gradients that link to phylogenetic structure among communities. The robust assumption is of general unimodal 途esponses・of features to environmental gradients. However, such overall phylogenetic dissimilarities sometimes may hide useful information. For inferences about the role of competition, each ancestral node in a phylogeny provides separate information, based on the clumping vs dispersion (in environmental space) of its descendent PD.

  

Emerging patterns in the comparative analysis of phylogenetic community structure
Campbell O. Webb (Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University), Steven M. Vamosi (University of Calgary), Stephen B. Heard (University of New Brunswick), Jana C. Vamosi (University of Calgary)

 The analysis of the phylogenetic structure of communities can help reveal dominant, contemporary ecological interactions, as well as link community ecology with biogeography and the study of character evolution. The number of studies employing this broad approach has increased to the point where comparison of their results can now be used to highlight successes and deficiencies in the approach. We review studies of the phylogenetic structure of communities of different major taxa and trophic levels, across different spatial and phylogenetic scales, and using different metrics and null models. We discuss the relationship between metrics of phylogenetic clustering and tree balance, and explore the potential of phylogenetic structure analysis to reveal trophic cascades. Finally, we look beyond one-dimensional metrics of phylogenetic structure towards multivariate descriptors that better capture the variety of ecological behaviors likely to be exhibited in communities of species with hundreds of millions of years of independent evolution.

  

Phylogenetic perspectives on community assembly and the competition-divergence-coexistence conundrum
John J. Wiens (Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University)

 I will illustrate how we can combine phylogenetic analyses of biogeography and phenotypic trait evolution to better understand the assembly of ecological communities. I will focus on two questions. First, how have the set of species with their given set of ecological traits come to be present in the same local community? For example, how important is in-situ evolution of characters within the community relative to dispersal of traits from elsewhere, and when will one process be more important than the other? Second, how does the composition of the community influence trait evolution in the species that occur there and the propensity of the community to be invaded by other species? Our studies so far illustrate what may be several general principles of community assembly, when viewed from this phylogenetic perspective. For example, one surprising (but recurring) inference from these studies is that even though competition seems to be important in driving and constraining phenotypic evolution, it often fails to prevent the co-existence of similar species in the same community. I call this the competition-divergence-coexistence conundrum.

  

A biogeographic perspective on community assembly
Michael J. Donoghue (Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University)

Understanding the structure of local communities requires integration of the study of local dynamics with broader studies of biogeography. This is the case because the species present in local assemblages reflect both local interactions and the composition of the regional species pool. It becomes especially important to consider the broader biogeographic context when conducting comparisons of phylogenetic diversity among areas, even within regions. As such comparisons scale up, especially to comparisons among biogeographic regions, differential rates of diversification become a key factor underlying patterns of phylogenetic diversity. I will highlight several such cases as a means of exploring how best to integrate historical biogeography into studies of community assembly.

  

Discussion