Summary 1 Analysing the phylogenetic structure of natural communities may illuminate the processes governing the assembly and coexistence of species in ecological communities. 2 Unifying previous works, we present a statistical framework to quantify the phylogenetic structure of communities in terms of average divergence time between pairs of individuals or species, sampled from different sites. This framework allows an additive partitioning of the phylogenetic signal into alpha (within‐site) and beta (among‐site) components, and is closely linked to Simpson diversity. It unifies the treatment of intraspecific (genetic) and interspecific diversity, leading to the definition of differentiation coefficients among community samples (e.g. IST, PST) analogous to classical population genetics coefficients expressing differentiation among populations (e.g. FST, NST). 3 Two coefficients which express community differentiation among sites from species identity (IST) or species phylogeny (PST) require abundance data (number of individuals per species per site), and estimators that are unbiased with respect to sample size are given. Another coefficient (ΠST) expresses the gain of the mean phylogenetic distance between species found in different sites compared with species found within sites, and requires only incidence data (presence/absence of each species in each site). 4 We present tests based on phylogenetic tree randomizations to detect community phylogenetic clustering (PST > IST or ΠST > 0) or phylogenetic overdispersion (PST < IST or ΠST < 0). In addition, we propose a novel approach to detect phylogenetic clustering or overdispersion in different clades or at different evolutionary time depths using partial randomizations. 5 I ST, PST or ΠST can also be used as distances between community samples and regressed on ecological or geographical distances, allowing us to investigate the factors responsible for the phylogenetic signal and the critical scales at which it appears. 6 We illustrate the approach on forest tree communities in Equatorial Guinea, where a phylogenetic clustering signal was probably due to phylogenetically conserved adaptations to the elevation gradient and was mostly contributed to by ancient clade subdivisions. 7 The approach presented should find applications for comparing quantitatively phylogenetic patterns of different communities, of similar communities in different regions or continents, or of populations (within species) vs. communities (among species).
Journal of Ecology – Wiley
Published: May 1, 2007
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