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Data from: Trait-environment interactions affect plant establishment success during restoration

Citation

Zirbel, Chad; Brudvig, Lars (2020), Data from: Trait-environment interactions affect plant establishment success during restoration, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bnzs7h46q

Abstract

Establishment and persistence are central to community assembly and are determined by how traits interact with the environment to determine performance ('trait-environment interactions'). Community assembly studies have rarely considered such trait-environment interactions, however, which can lead to incorrect inferences about how traits affect assembly. We evaluated how functional traits, environmental conditions, and trait-environment interactions structure plant establishment, as a measure of performance. Within 12 prairie restorations created by sowing 70 species, we quantified environmental conditions and counted individuals of each seeded species to quantify first year establishment. Three trait-environment interactions structured establishment. Leaf nitrogen interacted with herbivore pressure, as low leaf nitrogen species established relatively better under higher herbivory than species with high leaf nitrogen. Soil moisture interacted with root mass fraction (RMF), with low RMF species establishing better with low soil moisture and higher RMF species better on wetter soils. Specific leaf area (SLA) interacted with light availability, as low SLA species established better under high light conditions and high SLA species under low light conditions. Our work illustrates how community assembly can be better described by trait-environment interactions than correlating traits or environment with performance. This knowledge can assist species selection to maximize restoration success.Establishment and persistence are central to community assembly and are determined by how traits interact with the environment to determine performance ('trait-environment interactions'). Community assembly studies have rarely considered such trait-environment interactions, however, which can lead to incorrect inferences about how traits affect assembly. We evaluated how functional traits, environmental conditions, and trait-environment interactions structure plant establishment, as a measure of performance. Within 12 prairie restorations created by sowing 70 species, we quantified environmental conditions and counted individuals of each seeded species to quantify first year establishment. Three trait-environment interactions structured establishment. Leaf nitrogen interacted with herbivore pressure, as low leaf nitrogen species established relatively better under higher herbivory than species with high leaf nitrogen. Soil moisture interacted with root mass fraction (RMF), with low RMF species establishing better with low soil moisture and higher RMF species better on wetter soils. Specific leaf area (SLA) interacted with light availability, as low SLA species established better under high light conditions and high SLA species under low light conditions. Our work illustrates how community assembly can be better described by trait-environment interactions than correlating traits or environment with performance. This knowledge can assist species selection to maximize restoration success.

Methods

Methods can be found in Zirbel, C. R. and L. A. Brudvig. 2020. Trait-environment interactions affect plant establishment success during restoration. Ecology.

Usage Notes

Descriptions of the data and R code can be found in the readme_Zirbel_Brudvig_2020_dryad.txt file.