PALEOECOLOGY

Plant community structure through time

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  20 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6228, pp. 1326
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6228.1326-b

A wide variety of biotic and abiotic factors controls the abundance and biomass of plant species in ecological communities over time. Although challenging to tease apart, doing so may help scientists to better understand the effects of climate change on various ecosystems. Jeffers et al. combined analysis of fossil pollen records, isotopic analysis, paleotemperature reconstruction, and population modeling to study the factors that influenced the structure of tree communities in Scotland 12,700 to 5200 years ago. For most of the species in the community, interactions between plants controlled their abundance, more than soil nitrogen availability or growing-season temperature.

J. Ecol. 103, 459 (2015).

Navigate This Article