Biodiversity Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (5): 601-609.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015083

Special Issue: Forest Dynamics Monitoring

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Influence of climate, phylogeny, and functional traits on flowering phenology in a subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest, East China

Xiaoli Hu1,3, Chia-Hao Chang-Yang2, Xiangcheng Mi3, Yanjun Du3,*(), Zhaoyang Chang1,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life Sciences, Northwest Agriculture & Forestry University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100
    2 Department of Life Science, Tunghai University, Taizhong, Taiwan 40704
    3 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2015-04-07 Accepted:2015-05-19 Online:2015-10-12
  • Du Yanjun,Chang Zhaoyang;

The flowering phenology of plants is influenced by climatic, phylogenetic and functional constraints. To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the influence of these three factors on flowering phenology simultaneously. In order to investigate the relative impact of each of the three factors, we tested their importance in describing five-year of flowering data using 130 seed traps in a 24 ha plot in the Gutianshan forest in eastern China. Flowering of the subtropical evergreen forest peaked in May. The community flowering pattern was significantly correlated with climatic variables including temperature and rainfall. According to DNA barcoding data, closely related species had similar flowering dates. The mean flowering dates were also associated with maximum tree height, but not with pollinator mode, flower color, seed mass and dispersal mode. DNA barcoding data for testing phylogenetic constraint is strongly recommended in future studies. Our findings also suggest that climatic variables, phylogeny, and functional traits were associated with the community flowering pattern. Simultaneously considering these three factors will enhance our understanding of plant phenological patterns.

Key words: climate, functional traits, Gutianshan, flowering phenology, phylogenetic conservatism

Fig. 1

Flowering phenology in Gutianshan (GTS) subtropical evergreen forest, shown by a polar plot of mean vectors, where the vector angles represent the mean midpoint and the vector lengths represent temporal concentrations."

Fig. 2

The patterns of flowering phenology and climatic factors in Gutianshan (GTS). (A) Number of species recorded flowering by month; (B) Number of peak flowering species by month; (C) Distribution of the concentration of flowering times; (D) Patterns of average rainfall and temperature per month."

Table 1

Results of multiple regression analyses between climatic factors and monthly number of flowering species or number of peak flowering species in Gutianshan subtropical evergreen forest"

Response variables
Explanatory variables
R2 F 月降雨量
Monthly average rainfall (mm)
Monthly average temperature (℃)
Monthly number of flowering species
0.773 15.36 0.0063** 0.015*
Monthly number of peak flowering species
0.586 6.372 0.0102* 0.6552NS
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