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Lifespan, clonality and polyploidy regulate the global environmental niches of plants via seed dispersal in space and time

Citation

Wan, Ji-Zhong; Zhang, Chunhui (2021), Lifespan, clonality and polyploidy regulate the global environmental niches of plants via seed dispersal in space and time, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1zcrjdft5

Abstract

Global environmental niches have been considered in relation to the effectiveness of environmental management. Functional traits can explain the environmental niches of plant species at different spatial scales, from community to globe. However, the roles of seed dispersal in space and time in plant environmental niche and tolerance are not clear. Furthermore, knowledge of the regulation of plants’ global environmental niches by lifespan, clonality and polyploidy remains limited. In response, the main objective of the research reported here was to explore how these factors regulate the global environmental niches of plants via seed dispersal in space and time. We obtained data on plant species’ seed mass, seed dispersal ability, dormancy, lifespan, clonality and polyploidy from a variety of databases and quantified global environmental niche and tolerance based on the niche axes of climate, soil and elevation. Subsequently, we used phylogenetic generalized least square linear regression and structural equation models to assess the relationships of seed traits (i.e. seed mass, seed dispersal distance and dormancy), lifespan, clonality and polyploidy with environmental niches. We found significant relationships between seed mass, seed dispersal distance, dormancy, lifespan, clonality and polyploidy on the one hand and environmental niche and tolerance on the other, based on the axes of climate, soil and elevation. Compared with lifespan, ploidy and clonality, seed traits explained more variations in environmental niches and tolerance for plants. Importantly, we built pathways indicating that lifespan, clonality and polyploidy regulate the global environmental niche and tolerance of plants via seed mass and/or seed dispersal in space and time. Our study clearly highlights the mechanisms underlying environmental niches from different perspectives, including seed temporal-spatial dispersal, lifespan, clonality and polyploidy. Environmental niche theory may broadly support global-change-adaptation management for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem maintenance using the perspective of spatial and temporal patterns in ecology.

Methods

We collected species data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility [GBIF; GBIF.org (30 January 2021) GBIF Occurrence Download https://doi.org/10.15468/dl.yruzm2 and GBIF.org (30 January 2021) GBIF Occurrence Download https://doi.org/10.15468/dl.pytkny].

We first discarded the following types of sampling errors and sources of bias on the basis of García‐Roselló et al. (2014) and Zizka et al. (2019): 1) duplicated records within the area at a specific spatial resolution; 2) records with both longitude and latitude = 0°; 3) records for which the longitude and latitude were identical and probably represented erroneous repetitive data entry; 4) records with incorrect species names; 5) occurrences where the GBIF ‘coordinate uncertainty’ field was >10 km; and 6) occurrences whose ‘Basis of records’ GBIF field was ‘literature’ or ‘living specimen’ (generally, these descriptors refer to occurrences sampled in museums or ex situ collections, respectively).

Sampling correction was conducted using the CoordinateCleaner and dismo packages in the R software environment (https://www.r-project.org/). Currently accepted taxonomic names of plant species were based on The Plant List (V1.1; http://www.theplantlist.org/).

Finally, we obtained the occurrence records of 1,827,213 plant species at the global scale. Finally, the occurrence records were collected for the study plant species with existing data on seed traits, lifespan, clonality, and polyploidy from the studies of Van Drunen and Husband (2019), Chen et al. (2020), Klimesova et al. (2017), and Rice et al. (2019).

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31860668

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 32060385