ProjectPlant diversity patterns along multiple environmental gradients
Community species composition has been shown to vary through time and space in response to multiple environmental gradients (climate, disturbance, etc.). Notwithstanding, several questions remain as to the mechanisms explaining species assemblages, species coexistence and patterns of diversity. It is established that ecosystem processes are the consequence of the functional traits of the species present and their interactions. Thus, comparing functional and taxonomic diversity along gradients would provide useful information for understanding the mechanisms underlying biodiversity patterns. In addition, vascular and invascular plants respond differently to their environment, thus their diversity patterns along environmental gradients should also differ. Studying these groups simultaneously would provide insight into the factors governing diversity in environments where they are abundant, such as wetlands, and predict composition changes in response to environmental changes. The aim of my master's degree is therefore to assess the distribution of vascular and invascular species and functional traits in response to several environmental gradients, including latitude, longitude, climate and productivity, at a large spatial scale. The effect of these gradients will be evaluated by combining a taxonomic and functional approach, in order to have a global vision of the processes dictating species assemblages.