Linking species functional traits of terrestrial vertebrates and environmental filters: A case study in temperate mountain systems
Área de conocimiento
Datos de la obra
PLoS ONE, 2019, vol. 14, n.2
Public Library of Science
Knowledge on the relationships between species functional traits and environmental filters is key to understanding the mechanisms underlying the current patterns of biodiversity loss from a multi-taxa perspective. The aim of this study was to identify the main environmental factors driving the functional structure of a terrestrial vertebrate community (mammals, breeding birds, reptiles and amphibians) in a temperate mountain system (the Cantabrian Mountains; NW Spain). Based on the Spanish Inventory of Terrestrial Vertebrate Species, we selected three functional traits (feeding guild, habitat use type and daily activity) and defined, for each trait, a set of functional groups considering vertebrate species with common functional characteristics. The community functional structure was evaluated by means of two functional indexes indicative of functional redundancy (species richness within each functional group) and functional diversity. Ordinary least squares regression and conditional autoregressive models were applied to determine the response of community functional structure to environmental filters (climate, topography, land cover, physiological state of vegetation, landscape heterogeneity and human influence). The results revealed that both functional redundancy and diversity of terrestrial vertebrates were non-randomly distributed across space; rather, they were driven by environmental filters. Climate, topography and human influence were the best predictors of community functional structure. The influence of land cover, physiological state of vegetation and landscape heterogeneity varied among functional groups. The results of this study are useful to identify the general assembly rules of species functional traits and to illustrate the importance of environmental filters in determining functional structure of terrestrial vertebrate communities in mountain systems.