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Biogeographic distributions of neotropical trees reflect their directly measured drought tolerances

Esquivel-Muelbert, A; Galbraith, D; Dexter, KG; Baker, TR; Lewis, SL; Meir, P; Rowland, L; ... Phillips, OL; + view all (2017) Biogeographic distributions of neotropical trees reflect their directly measured drought tolerances. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 8334. 10.1038/s41598-017-08105-8. Green open access

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Abstract

High levels of species diversity hamper current understanding of how tropical forests may respond to environmental change. In the tropics, water availability is a leading driver of the diversity and distribution of tree species, suggesting that many tropical taxa may be physiologically incapable of tolerating dry conditions, and that their distributions along moisture gradients can be used to predict their drought tolerance. While this hypothesis has been explored at local and regional scales, large continental-scale tests are lacking. We investigate whether the relationship between drought-induced mortality and distributions holds continentally by relating experimental and observational data of drought-induced mortality across the Neotropics to the large-scale bioclimatic distributions of 115 tree genera. Across the different experiments, genera affiliated to wetter climatic regimes show higher drought-induced mortality than dry-affiliated ones, even after controlling for phylogenetic relationships. This pattern is stronger for adult trees than for saplings or seedlings, suggesting that the environmental filters exerted by drought impact adult tree survival most strongly. Overall, our analysis of experimental, observational, and bioclimatic data across neotropical forests suggests that increasing moisture-stress is indeed likely to drive significant changes in floristic composition.

Type: Article
Title: Biogeographic distributions of neotropical trees reflect their directly measured drought tolerances
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-08105-8
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08105-8
Language: English
Additional information: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025046
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