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Data from: Aridity drives coordinated trait shifts but not decreased trait variance across the geographic range of eight Australian trees

Cite this dataset

Anderegg, Leander et al. (2020). Data from: Aridity drives coordinated trait shifts but not decreased trait variance across the geographic range of eight Australian trees [Dataset]. Dryad.


  • Large intraspecific functional trait variation strongly impacts many aspects of communities and ecosystems, and is the medium upon which evolution works. Yet intraspecific trait variation is inconsistent and hard to predict across traits, species, and locations.
  • We measured within-species variation in leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), branch wood density (WD), and allocation to stem area vs. leaf area in branches (branch Huber value, HV) across the aridity range of seven Australian eucalypts and a co-occuring Acacia species to explore how traits and their variances change with aridity.
  • Within-species, we found consistent increases in LMA, LDMC and WD, and HV with increasing aridity, resulting in consistent trait coordination across leaves and branches. However, this coordination only emerged across sites with large climate differences.  Unlike trait means, patterns of trait variance with aridity were mixed across populations and species. Only LDMC showed constrained trait variation in more xeric species and drier populations that could indicate limits to plasticity or heritable trait variation.
  • Our results highlight that climate can drive consistent within-species trait patterns, but that these patterns might often be obscured by the complex nature of morphological traits, sampling incomplete species ranges, or sampling confounded stress gradients.


Full methods in paper text.

Scripts for analysis and figures reported in paper are available at:

Additional scripts to generate plot attribute data (e.g. climate and soil attribute extraction) available upon request (email Leander Anderegg,

Usage notes

Consistes of 5 .csv files:

Metadata.csv - data descriptions for other .csvs

TraitsAll_Branch_20200701.csv - quality controled branch-level trait data, tree attributes and plot-level climate data collected across the aridity range of seven eucalypt species and one Acacia species along two aridity gradients in Western Astralia and Tasmanai.

Soils_Summareis0-60cm_20200701.csv - plot-level soil properties derived from the Soil and Landscape Grid of Australia, then averaged across the 0cm-60cm depth.

Resid_Patterns_2020-526.csv - summary of residual variance patterns with aridity (# of species showing patterns) for each of 4 traits (used for creating Fig 6 in Anderegg et al. 2020)

Climate_Quantiles_allspp_20200701.csv - metrics of focal species climate niche quantified by various quantiles of the climate of their occurance records downloaded from the Atlas of Living Australia.


National Science Foundation, Award: DGE-1256082

National Science Foundation, Award: DDIG-1500837

National Science Foundation, Award: Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) travel grant

National Science Foundation, Award: DBI-1711243

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Award: Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship

National Geographic Society, Award: Young Explorer Grant