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SUMMARY Picante is a software package that provides a comprehensive set of tools for analyzing the phylogenetic and trait diversity of ecological communities. The package calculates phylogenetic diversity metrics, performs trait comparative analyses, manipulates phenotypic and phylogenetic data, and performs tests for phylogenetic signal in trait(More)
Plant traits – the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants and their organs – determine how primary producers respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, influence ecosystem processes and services and provide a link from species richness to ecosystem functional diversity. Trait data(More)
Plant functional traits are the features (morphological, physiological, phenological) that represent ecological strategies and determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels and influence ecosystem properties. Variation in plant functional traits, and trait syndromes, has proven useful for tackling many important(More)
Worldwide decomposition rates depend both on climate and the legacy of plant functional traits as litter quality. To quantify the degree to which functional differentiation among species affects their litter decomposition rates, we brought together leaf trait and litter mass loss data for 818 species from 66 decomposition experiments on six continents. We(More)
Taxa co-occurring in communities often represent a nonrandom sample, in phenotypic or phylogenetic terms, of the regional species pool. While heuristic arguments have identified processes that create community phylogenetic patterns, further progress hinges on a more comprehensive understanding of the interactions between underlying ecological and(More)
Non-photosynthetic, or heterotrophic, tissues in C 3 plants tend to be enriched in 13 C compared with the leaves that supply them with photosynthate. This isotopic pattern has been observed for woody stems, roots, seeds and fruits, emerging leaves, and parasitic plants incapable of net CO 2 fixation. Unlike in C 3 plants, roots of herbaceous C 4 plants are(More)
Ecologists have long been interested in understanding the strengths of consumer and resource limitation in influencing communities. Here we ask three questions concerning the relative importance of nutrients and grazing fishes to primary producers of a tropical Andean stream: (1) Are stream algae nutrient limited? (2) Are top-down and bottom-up forces of(More)
Making meaningful inferences from phylogenetic comparative data requires a meaningful model of trait evolution. It is thus important to determine whether the model is appropriate for the data and the question being addressed. One way to assess this is to ask whether the model provides a good statistical explanation for the variation in the data. To date,(More)
Diversity effects on many aspects of ecosystem function have been well documented. However, fire is an exception: fire experiments have mainly included single species, bulk litter, or vegetation, and, as such, the role of diversity as a determinant of flammability, a crucial aspect of ecosystem function, is poorly understood. This study is the first to(More)
Fire is important to climate, element cycles and plant communities, with many fires spreading via surface litter. The influence of species on the spread of surface fire is mediated by their traits which, after senescence and abscission, have 'afterlife' effects on litter flammability. We hypothesized that differences in litter flammability among gymnosperms(More)