Biodiv Sci ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (7): 655-666.DOI: 10.17520/biods.2018060

• Original Papers •     Next Articles

Dynamical changes of diversity and community assembly during recovery from a plant functional group removal experiment in the alpine meadow

Dexin Sun, Xiang Liu, Shurong Zhou*()   

  1. Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Fundan University, Shanghai 200438
  • Received:2018-02-21 Accepted:2018-04-24 Online:2018-07-20 Published:2018-09-26
  • Contact: Zhou Shurong
  • About author:# Co-first authors


Recently, numerous studies have used functional trait or phylogeny to infer the mechanisms of community assembly. However, different processes may lead to similar patterns of diversity. In an alpine meadow plant community in Gannan, we compared the dynamical changes in species diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity with experimental removal of plant functional groups. We assessed how colonization and extinction affected diversity dynamics after removing functional groups. We found that for communities receiving removals of different number of functional groups, species richness (SR), Shannon-Wiener index (H°), Simpson index (D), and evenness index (J) rapidly converged to the levels for natural communities. Moreover, functional diversity (FD) and phylogenetic diversity (PD) showed the similar trends as species diversity, while the mean pairwise distances (MPD/MPDa and MFD/MFDa) converged to medium levels. Next, species and functional group compositions recovered to the levels of natural communities within a short period. Finally, we found that functional patterns of species colonization and extinction was the main driver of the community recovery. This study indicates that the diversity of species, functions, and phylogeny of plant communities in alpine meadows can recover quickly from functional group removal at small scales when close to natural alpine meadows.

Key words: functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity, species diversity, recovery, alpine meadow