Norman W H Mason

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Functional diversity is increasingly identified as an important driver of ecosystem functioning. Various indices have been proposed to measure the functional diversity of a community, but there is still no consensus on which are most suitable. Indeed, none of the existing indices meets all the criteria required for general use. The main criteria are that(More)
Functional diversity is hypothesised as being beneficial for ecosystem functions, such as productivity and resistance to invasion. However, a precise definition of functional diversity, and hence a framework for its quantification, have proved elusive. We present a definition based on the analogy of the components of species diversity / richness, evenness(More)
Understanding the processes shaping biological communities under multiple disturbances is a core challenge in ecology and conservation science. Traditionally, ecologists have explored linkages between the severity and type of disturbance and the taxonomic structure of communities. Recent advances in the application of species traits, to assess the(More)
The accelerating rate of change in biodiversity patterns, mediated by ever increasing human pressures and global warming, demands a better understanding of the relationship between the structure of biological communities and ecosystem functioning (BEF). Recent investigations suggest that the functional structure of communities, i.e. the composition and(More)
Recent studies have shown that accounting for intraspecific trait variation (ITV) may better address major questions in community ecology. However, a general picture of the relative extent of ITV compared to interspecific trait variation in plant communities is still missing. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis of the relative extent of ITV within and among(More)
The relation between functional traits and abundance of species has the potential to provide evidence on the mechanisms that structure local ecological communities. The niche-limitation/limiting-similarity hypothesis, derived from MacArthur and Levins’ original concept, predicts that species that are similar to others in terms of functional traits will(More)
1. The mechanisms that structure biological communities hold the key to understanding ecosystem functioning and the maintenance of biodiversity. Patterns of species abundances have been proposed as a means of differentiation between niche-based and neutral processes, but abundance information alone cannot provide unequivocal discrimination. 2. We combined(More)
1. Interspecific niche differences have long been identified as a major explanation for the occurrence of species-rich communities. However, much fieldwork studying variation in local species richness has focused upon physical habitat attributes or regional factors, such as the size of the regional species pool. 2. We applied indices of functional diversity(More)
Functional characters have the potential to act as indicators of species turnover between local communities. Null models provide a powerful statistical approach to test for patterns using functional character information. A combined null model/functional character approach provides the ability to distinguish between the effect of competition and(More)
Owing to the conceptual complexity of functional diversity (FD), a multitude of different methods are available for measuring it, with most being operational at only a small range of spatial scales. This causes uncertainty in ecological interpretations and limits the potential to generalize findings across studies or compare patterns across scales. We solve(More)