Data from: Genetic sorting of subordinate species in grassland modulated by intraspecific variation in dominant species.
Gustafson, Danny J. et al. (2015), Data from: Genetic sorting of subordinate species in grassland modulated by intraspecific variation in dominant species., Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.cq8bh
Genetic variation in a single species can have predictable and heritable effects on associated communities and ecosystem processes, however little is known about how genetic variation of a dominant species affects plant community assembly. We characterized the genetic structure of a dominant grass (Sorghastrum nutans) and two subordinate species (Chamaecrista fasciculata, Silphium integrifolium), during the third growing season in grassland communities established with genetically distinct (cultivated varieties or local ecotypes) seed sources of the dominant grasses. There were genetic differences between subordinate species growing in the cultivar versus local ecotype communities, indicating that intraspecific genetic variation in the dominant grasses affected the genetic composition of subordinate species during community assembly. A positive association between genetic diversity of S. nutans, C. fasciculata, and S. integrifolium and species diversity established the role of an intraspecific biotic filter during community assembly. Our results show that intraspecific variation in dominant species can significantly modulate the genetic composition of subordinate species.