Journal article

The role of functional traits in species distributions revealed through a hierarchical model

Laura J Pollock, William K Morris, Peter A Vesk



Quantifying how functional traits relate to environmental gradients provides insight into mechanisms governing species distributions. Here, we bring together the fields of species distribution modelling and functional trait ecology with hierarchical modelling by explicitly incorporating traits into a multi-species distribution model. We combined traits from the leaf-height-seed strategy scheme (specific leaf area (SLA), plant height and seed mass) with a distribution model for 20 eucalypt taxa in Victoria, Australia. The key insight of this approach is how traits modulate species responses to environmental gradients. The strongest link was between SLA and percent rock cover (species with low..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Chris Jones for help with field collection. Thanks to Michael McCarthy for valuable comments and suggestions that greatly improved the manuscript. We also thank the following funding sources: A.S.B.S. Eichler Research Fund and Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, and the Sophie Ducker Postgrad Scholarship. LJP was supported by an Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and a Melbourne Research Scholarship and WKM by an Australian Postgraduate Award.