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      Research on mutualisms between native and non-native partners can contribute critical ecological insights

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Most cited references 63

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          Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits.

          There is considerable debate about whether community ecology will ever produce general principles. We suggest here that this can be achieved but that community ecology has lost its way by focusing on pairwise species interactions independent of the environment. We assert that community ecology should return to an emphasis on four themes that are tied together by a two-step process: how the fundamental niche is governed by functional traits within the context of abiotic environmental gradients; and how the interaction between traits and fundamental niches maps onto the realized niche in the context of a biotic interaction milieu. We suggest this approach can create a more quantitative and predictive science that can more readily address issues of global change.
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            Functional traits and niche-based tree community assembly in an Amazonian forest.

            It is debated whether species-level differences in ecological strategy, which play a key role in much of coexistence theory, are important in structuring highly diverse communities. We examined the co-occurrence patterns of over 1100 tree species in a 25-hectare Amazonian forest plot in relation to field-measured functional traits. Using a null model approach, we show that co-occurring trees are often less ecologically similar than a niche-free (neutral) model predicts. Furthermore, we find evidence for processes that simultaneously drive convergence and divergence in key aspects of plant strategy, suggesting that at least two distinct niche-based processes are occurring. Our results show that strategy differentiation among species contributes to the maintenance of diversity in one of the most diverse tropical forests in the world.
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              Ecological and evolutionary traps

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                July 23 2015
                July 23 2015
                : 26
                : 39-54
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.26.8837
                © 2015
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