Genetic differences among tree species, their hybrids and within tree species are known to influence associated ecological communities and ecosystem processes in areas of limited species diversity. The extent to which this same phenomenon occurs based on genetic variation within a single tree species, in a diverse complex ecosystem such as a tropical forest, is unknown. The level of biodiversity and complexity of the ecosystem may reduce the impact of a single tree species on associated communities. We assessed the influence of within-species genetic variation in the tree Brosimum alicastrum (Moraceae) on associated epiphytic and invertebrate communities in a neotropical rainforest. We found a significant positive association between genetic distance of trees and community difference of the epiphytic plants growing on the tree, the invertebrates living among the leaf litter around the base of the tree, and the invertebrates found on the tree trunk. This means that the more genetically similar trees are host to more similar epiphyte and invertebrate communities. Our work has implications for whole ecosystem conservation management, since maintaining sufficient genetic diversity at the primary producer level will enhance species diversity of other plants and animals. © 2011 The Royal Society.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 12 May 2011|
- Amplified fragment length polymorphisms
- Community genetics
- Ecosystem conservation
- Genetic interactions
- Species interactions
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Conservation activities and biodiversity training in Sumaco National Park, Ecuador
Richard Preziosi (Participant), Anthony Bebbington (Participant), Jennifer Rowntree (Participant), Johan Oldekop (Participant), Sharon Zytynska (Participant) & Nathan Truelove (Participant)
Impact: Economic impacts, Environmental impacts, Societal impacts, Technological impacts