William K. Cornwell

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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)
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)
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)
Community assembly theory suggests that two processes affect the distribution of trait values within communities: competition and habitat filtering. Within a local community, competition leads to ecological differentiation of coexisting species, while habitat filtering reduces the spread of trait values, reflecting shared ecological tolerances. Many(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)
Plant functional traits vary both along environmental gradients and among species occupying similar conditions, creating a challenge for the synthesis of functional and community ecology. We present a trait-based approach that provides an additive decomposition of species' trait values into alpha and beta components: beta values refer to a species' position(More)
Non-photosynthetic, or heterotrophic, tissues in C3 plants tend to be enriched in 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 CO2 fixation. Unlike in C3 plants, roots of herbaceous C4 plants are(More)
The carbon flux from woody debris, a crucial uncertainty within global carbon-climate models, is simultaneously affected by climate, site environment and species-based variation in wood quality. In the first global analysis attempting to explicitly tease out the wood quality contribution to decomposition, we found support for our hypothesis that, under a(More)
Wood density and vessel characteristics are functionally interrelated, yet they may have distinct ecological associations. In a comparative study of 51 angiosperm species ranging from chaparral shrubs to riparian trees, we examined relationships among wood density and vessel traits and their ecological correlates. Mean vessel lumen area and vessel density(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)