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Data from: Resilience to fire of phylogenetic diversity across biological domains

Cite this dataset

Pérez-Valera, Eduardo; Verdú, Miguel; Navarro-Cano, Jose A.; Goberna, Marta (2018). Data from: Resilience to fire of phylogenetic diversity across biological domains [Dataset]. Dryad.


Fire alters the structure and composition of above- and belowground communities with concurrent shifts in phylogenetic diversity. The inspection of post-fire trends in the diversity of ecological communities incorporating phylogenetic information allows to better understand the mechanisms driving fire resilience. While fire reduces plant phylogenetic diversity based on the recruitment of evolutionarily-related species with post-fire seed persistence, it increases that of soil microbes by limiting soil resources and changing the dominance of competing microbes. Thus, during post-fire community reassembly, plant and soil microbes might experience opposing temporal trends in their phylogenetic diversity that are linked through changes in the soil conditions. We tested this hypothesis by investigating the post-fire evolution of plant and soil microbial (fungi, bacteria and archaea) communities across three 20-year chronosequences. Plant phylogenetic diversity increased with time since fire as pioneer seeders facilitate the establishment of distantly-related late-successional shrubs. The post-fire increase in plant phylogenetic diversity fostered plant productivity, eventually recovering soil organic matter. These shifts over time in the soil conditions explained the post-fire restoration of fungal and bacterial phylogenetic diversity, which decreased to pre-fire levels, suggesting that evolutionarily-related taxa with high relative fitness recover their competitive superiority during community reassembly. The resilience to fire of phylogenetic diversity across biological domains helps preserve the evolutionary history stored in our ecosystems.

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