Data from: Community traits affect plant–plant interactions across climatic gradients
Copeland, Stella M.; Harrison, Susan P. (2016), Data from: Community traits affect plant–plant interactions across climatic gradients, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.v057n
Plant abundances and demography often vary along gradients of environmental stress, and neighboring plants can amplify or diminish such variation. We asked to what degree the effects of neighboring plants on a focal species can be explained by the traits and abundances of species in the surrounding community. We studied a common understory herb, Trientalis latifolia, across climatic gradients created by topography in the Siskiyou Mountains, southwestern Oregon. We compared Trientalis fitness along these gradients with and without neighbor removal, and asked whether the effects of neighboring plants could be predicted by their community-weighted trait values and abundances. Environmental conditions alone did not explain whether neighbors had competitive or facilitative effects on Trientalis. However, the environment interacted with neighbor traits and biomass to influence neighbor effects: at cool, higher elevations, high neighbor biomass was associated with stronger facilitative effects, while at warm, lower elevations, high neighbor dissimilarity from Trientalis was associated with stronger competitive effects. We suggest that covariation and interactions among environmental and community characteristics are key to understanding species performance along climatic gradients.
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