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Title: Evolutionary history drives aspects of stoichiometric niche variation and functional effects within a guild
Functional traits are characteristics of an organism that represent how it interacts with its environment and can influence the structure and function of ecosystems. Ecological stoichiometry provides a framework to understand ecosystem structure and function by modeling the coupled flow of elements (e.g. carbon [C], nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P]) between consumers and their environment. Animals tend to be homeostatic in their nutrient requirements and preferentially sequester the element in shortest supply relative to demand, and release relatively more of the element in excess. Tissue stoichiometry is an important functional trait that allows for predictions among the elemental composition of animals, their diet, and their waste products, with important effects on the cycling and availability of nutrients in ecosystems. Here we examined the tissue stoichiometric niches (C:N:P) and nutrient recycling stoichiometries (N:P) of several filter‐feeding freshwater mussels in the subfamily Ambleminae. Despite occupying the same functional‐feeding group and being restricted to a single subfamily‐level radiation, we found that species occupied distinct stoichiometric niches and that these niches varied, in part, as a function of their evolutionary history. The relationship between phylogenetic divergence and functional divergence suggests that evolutionary processes may be shaping niche complementarity and resource partitioning. Tissue and excretion stoichiometry more » were negatively correlated as predicted by stoichiometric theory. When scaled to the community, higher species richness and phylogenetic diversity resulted in greater functional evenness and reduced functional dispersion. Filter‐feeding bivalves are an ecologically important guild in freshwater ecosystems globally, and our study provides a more nuanced view of the stoichiometric niches and ecological functions performed by this phylogenetically and ecologically diverse assemblage. « less
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1831512
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10167264
Journal Name:
Ecology
ISSN:
0012-9658
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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