Phylogenetic community structure, community ecology, habitat filtering, competition, diversity, phylogenetic diversiy, aquatic beetles, aquatic beetle assemblages
Phylogenetic Community Structure (PCS) metrics are becoming more common in community ecology. PCS metrics estimate the phylogenetic relatedness among members of an ecological community or assemblage. If ecological traits are conserved, then phylogenetic clustering (i.e., taxa are more closely related than expected by chance) indicates habitat filtering as the key process in community assembly. On the other hand, a pattern of phylogenetic overdispersion (i.e., taxa are more distantly related than expected by chance) suggests competition is dominant. Most studies to date have used PCS of unmanipulated ecosystems, but the value of PCS metrics will be best revealed in experiments. This project used PCS for aquatic beetle (Coleoptera) assemblages in experimentally manipulated seasonal wetlands on a cattle ranch in south-central Florida, and compared PCS metrics to standard ecological metrics. Wetlands were experimentally treated with all combinations of pasture management, fencing to exclude cattle, and controlled burning during 2006-2009. Beetle assemblages in fenced wetlands were significantly more overdispersed compared to non-fenced wetlands, suggesting that this treatment decreases habitat filtering, causing competition to become the dominant process in community formation. There was also a significant pasture x fence x burn interaction effect, with assemblages in wetlands differing in PCS depending on what combination of the three treatments were applied. Phylogenetic Diversity (PD – a measure of branch length of a community or assemblage on a phylogenetic tree) was highly correlated with genera richness (number of genera), and these metrics along with the expected number of genera (D – an ecological diversity index) found significant differences among burn treatments and a pasture x iii burn interaction. The results of this study indicate that PCS metrics complement classical ecological methods and should be widely applied.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences, Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Kelly, Sandor Lawrence, "Phylogenetic Community Structure Of Aquatic Beetle Assemblages In A Multi-wetland Experiment" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2212.