Environmental filtering of eudicot lineages underlies phylogenetic clustering in tropical South American flooded forests

Ana M. Aldana, Marcos B. Carlucci, Paul V.A. Fine, Pablo R. Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The phylogenetic community assembly approach has been used to elucidate the role of ecological and historical processes in shaping tropical tree communities. Recent studies have shown that stressful environments, such as seasonally dry, white-sand and flooded forests tend to be phylogenetically clustered, arguing for niche conservatism as the main driver for this pattern. Very few studies have attempted to identify the lineages that contribute to such assembly patterns. We aimed to improve our understanding of the assembly of flooded forest tree communities in Northern South America by asking the following questions: are seasonally flooded forests phylogenetically clustered? If so, which angiosperm lineages are over-represented in seasonally flooded forests? To assess our hypotheses, we investigated seasonally flooded and terra firme forests from the Magdalena, Orinoco and Amazon Basins, in Colombia. Our results show that, regardless of the river basin in which they are located, seasonally flooded forests of Northern South America tend to be phylogenetically clustered, which means that the more abundant taxa in these forests are more closely related to each other than expected by chance. Based on our alpha and beta phylodiversity analyses we interpret that eudicots are more likely to adapt to extreme environments such as seasonally flooded forests, which indicates the importance of environmental filtering in the assembly of the Neotropical flora.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-335
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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