Biodiversity Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (6): 617-628.doi: 10.17520/biods.2016054

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Effects of species abundance and size classes on assessing community phylogenetic structure: a case study in Jianfengling tropical montane rainforest

Gexi Xu1, Zuomin Shi1, 2, *(), Jingchao Tang1, Han Xu3, Huai Yang4, Shirong Liu1, Yide Li3, Mingxian Lin4   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory on Forest Ecology and Environmental Sciences, State Forestry Administration, Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091
    2 Co-innovation Centre for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037
    3 Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Guangzhou 510520
    4 Experimental Station of Research Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Ledong, Hainan 572542
  • Received:2016-02-25 Accepted:2016-06-05 Online:2016-06-20
  • Shi Zuomin

Studying community phylogenetic diversity within forest stands of different diameter classes (i.e. size classes) is helpful for understanding relationships among species at different ages while at the same time community phylogenetic structure. However, little research has been focused on the influence of species abundance on phylogenetic structure of community. This study was conducted in the Jianfengling tropical montane rainforest on Hainan Island. First, we assessed the impact of species abundance on four widely used phylogenetic diversity indices at different size classes. Next, two of the indices (i.e. net relatedness index, NRI and nearest taxon index, NTI) were standardized and used to quantify phylogenetic relatedness of woody plants at different size classes across a series of local habitat types. The results showed that: (1) The unweighted MPD (mean pairwise distance) index significantly overestimated phylogenetic diversity relative to MPD weighted according to species abundance. This overestimation when using unweighted MPD was greatest for small trees and shrubs (1 cm≤DBH<5 cm). Therefore species abundance information should be taken into consideration in the study of phylogenetic structure of community when most of the trees and shrubs are young and small. (2) The community phylogenetic structure was most likely overdispersed among almost all size classes and habitats of the Jianfengling tropical montane rainforest (NRI<0). This phylogenetic overdispersion increased as size class increased. (3) The partial community phylogenetic structure tended to be clustered at middle and small size classes (NTI>0). However, this pattern continued to show overdispersion within communities made up of large trees (DBH≥15 cm) (NTI<0). In summary, studies assessing the influences of species abundance and size classes on community phylogenetic structure are required.

Key words: tropical montane rainforest, phylogenetic diversity, weighted species abundance, size classes, habitat heterogeneity, Jianfengling

Table 1

Distribution of species, genus and families of trees and shrubs in different DBH size classes in Jianfengling tropical montane rainforest community"

Size classes
Species percentage (%)
Genus percentage (%)
Family pergentage (%)
DBH≥15 cm 1,689 (7.48%) 146 61.86 82 64.06 42 75.00
5 cm≤DBH<15 cm 3,302 (14.64%) 191 80.93 109 85.16 54 96.43
1 cm≤DBH<5 cm 17,570 (77.88%) 226 95.76 123 96.09 54 96.43
DBH≥1 cm 22,561 236 100 128 100 56 100

Table 2

Pearson correlation of phylogenetic diversity indices with and without species weighted abundance"

Phylogenetic diversity indices
径级 Size classes
DBH≥15 cm 5 cm≤DBH<15 cm 1 cm≤DBH<5 cm DBH≥1 cm
MPD vs. AW-MPD 0.797*** 0.805*** 0.473*** 0.465***
MNTD vs. AW-MNTD 0.895*** 0.888*** 0.725*** 0.828***
NRI vs. AW-NRI 0.876*** 0.893*** 0.621*** 0.597***
NTI vs. AW-NTI 0.149 0.406*** 0.542*** 0.687***

Fig. 1

Effects of species weighted abundance on phylogenetic diversity indices. The dash lines are 1:1 lines, and the solid lines are simulated lines based on simple linear regression. Scatter points distributed on the left side of the dash lines indicate overestimation of phylogenetic diversity, while those on the right side indicate underestimation of phylogenetic diversity. MPD, Mean pairwise distance; AW-MPD, Abundance weighted MPD; MNTD, Mean nearest taxon distance; AW-MNTD, Abundance weighted MNTD; NRI, Net relatedness index; AW-NRI, Abundance weighted NRI; NTI, Nearest taxon index; AW-NTI, Abundance weighted NTI."

Fig. 2

The patterns (Mean±SD) of phylogenetic dispersion (NRI and NTI) with and without species weighted abundance for woody plants at different size classes in six habitat types at the spatial scale of 20 m×20 m. LS, Low slope; HS, High slope. Size classes: Small, 1 cm≤DBH<5 cm; Middle, 5 cm≤DBH<15 cm; Large, DBH≥15 cm."

Table 3

Tukey multi-comparison for NRI and NTI (mean±SD) with and without species weighted abundance among different DBH size classes and habitat types."

径级 Size classes
DBH≥15 cm 5 cm≤DBH<15 cm 1 cm≤DBH<5 cm DBH≥1 cm
Net relatedness index (NRI)
低沟 Valley -0.81±0.70Ab -0.25±1.00Aa -0.21±0.73ABa -0.57±0.82A
低坡 Low slope -0.87±1.37Aa -0.66±0.91Aa -0.57±0.69ABa -1.16±0.88A
高坡 High slope -0.90±0.52Aa -0.63±0.98Aa -0.62±0.52ABa -0.79±0.48A
高沟 Gully -1.33±1.03Ab -0.26±0.76Aab -0.53±0.59ABa -1.10±0.76A
鞍部 Saddle -0.91±1.10Aa -0.67±0.91Aa 0.30±0.42Aa -0.51±0.69A
山脊 Ridge -1.21±1.05Aa -0.68±0.76Aa -0.81±0.83Ba -1.23±0.63A
Abundance weighted net relatedness index (AW-NRI)
低沟 Valley -0.81±0.61Ab -0.14±0.71Aa 0.19±0.37Aa -0.01±0.46A
低坡 Low slope -1.13±0.81Aa -0.79±0.58Aa -0.68±0.71Ba -1.01±0.22B
高坡 High slope -0.87±0.40Aa -0.52±0.69Aa -0.62±0.24Ba -0.75±0.26B
高沟 Gully -1.48±0.54Ab -0.19±0.58Aa -0.46±0.29Ba -0.78±0.20B
鞍部 Saddle -0.68±0.71Ab -0.43±0.59Aa 0.31±0.40Aa -0.13±0.36A
山脊 Ridge -1.19±0.81Aa -0.46±0.29Aa -0.87±0.45Ba -0.78±0.20B
Nearest taxon index (NTI)
低沟 Valley -0.24±0.73Ac 0.20±0.69ABbc 1.04±1.00Aa 0.64±0.85AB
低坡 Low slope -0.18±0.66Aa -0.04±0.82ABa 0.36±0.90Aa 0.16±0.93AB
高坡 High slope -0.15±1.04Ab 0.77±1.17Aa 0.98±0.70Aa 0.53±0.57AB
高沟 Gully -0.64±1.44Ab 0.24±0.78ABa 1.00±0.57Aa 0.39±0.95AB
鞍部 Saddle -1.25±1.09Ab -0.72±0.68Ba 0.71±0.82Aa -0.35±0.94B
山脊 Ridge -0.49±1.38Ab 0.90±0.76Aa 1.43±0.78Aa 0.93±0.64A
Abundance weighted nearest taxon index (AW-NTI)
低沟 Valley -0.31±0.73Ab 0.64±0.85ABa 0.63±0.66ABa 0.25±0.53BC
低坡 Low slope -0.67±0.73Aa 0.16±0.93ABa 0.52±0.34ABa -0.03±0.62BC
高坡 High slope -0.36±0.84Ab 0.53±0.57ABa 0.92±0.41ABa 0.51±0.40AB
高沟 Gully -0.83±1.00Ab 0.39±0.95ABa 0.90±0.58ABa 0.24±0.89BC
鞍部 Saddle -1.04±0.57Aa -0.35±0.94Ba 0.07±0.79Ba -0.41±0.71C
山脊 Ridge -0.56±1.19Ab 0.93±0.64Aa 1.14±0.55Aa 0.92±0.62A
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