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  1. Abstract Current models of island biogeography treat endemic and non‐endemic species as if they were functionally equivalent, focussing primarily on species richness. Thus, the functional composition of island biotas in relation to island biogeographical variables remains largely unknown. Using plant trait data (plant height, leaf area and flower length) for 895 native species in the Canary Islands, we related functional trait distinctiveness and climate rarity for endemic and non‐endemic species and island ages. Endemics showed a link to climatically rare conditions that is consistent with island geological change through time. However, functional trait distinctiveness did not differ between endemics and non‐endemics and remained constant with island age. Thus, there is no obvious link between trait distinctiveness and occupancy of rare climates, at least for the traits measured here, suggesting that treating endemic and non‐endemic species as functionally equivalent in island biogeography is not fundamentally wrong. 
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  3. Global change drivers (GCDs) are expected to alter community structure and consequently, the services that ecosystems provide. Yet, few experimental investigations have examined effects of GCDs on plant community structure across multiple ecosystem types, and those that do exist present conflicting patterns. In an unprecedented global synthesis of over 100 experiments that manipulated factors linked to GCDs, we show that herbaceous plant community responses depend on experimental manipulation length and number of factors manipulated. We found that plant communities are fairly resistant to experimentally manipulated GCDs in the short term (<10 y). In contrast, long-term (≥10 y) experiments show increasing community divergence of treatments from control conditions. Surprisingly, these community responses occurred with similar frequency across the GCD types manipulated in our database. However, community responses were more common when 3 or more GCDs were simultaneously manipulated, suggesting the emergence of additive or synergistic effects of multiple drivers, particularly over long time periods. In half of the cases, GCD manipulations caused a difference in community composition without a corresponding species richness difference, indicating that species reordering or replacement is an important mechanism of community responses to GCDs and should be given greater consideration when examining consequences of GCDs for the biodiversity–ecosystem function relationship. Human activities are currently driving unparalleled global changes worldwide. Our analyses provide the most comprehensive evidence to date that these human activities may have widespread impacts on plant community composition globally, which will increase in frequency over time and be greater in areas where communities face multiple GCDs simultaneously. 
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  4. Abstract Aim

    Plant species continue to be moved outside of their native range by human activities. Here, we aim to determine whether, once introduced, plants assimilate into native communities or whether they aggregate, thus forming mosaics of native‐ and alien‐rich communities. Alien species might aggregate in their non‐native range owing to shared habitat preferences, such as their tendency to establish in high‐biomass, species‐poor areas.


    Twenty‐two herbaceous grasslands in 14 countries, mainly in the temperate zone.

    Time period


    Major taxa studied



    We used a globally coordinated survey. Within this survey, we found 46 plant species, predominantly from Eurasia, for which we had co‐occurrence data in their native and non‐native ranges. We tested for differences in co‐occurrence patterns of 46 species between their native (home) and non‐native (away) range. We also tested whether species had similar habitat preferences, by testing for differences in total biomass and species richness of the patches that species occupy in their native and non‐native ranges.


    We found the same species to show different patterns of association depending on whether they were in their native or non‐native range. Alien species were negatively associated with native species; instead, they aggregated with other alien species in species‐poor, high‐biomass communities in their non‐native range compared with their native range.

    Main conclusions

    The strong differences between the native (home) and non‐native (away) range in species co‐occurrence patterns are evidence that the way in which species associate with resident communities in their non‐native range is not species dependent, but is instead a property of being away from their native range. These results thus highlight that species might undergo important ecological changes when introduced away from their native range. Overall, we show origin‐dependent associations that result in novel communities, in which alien‐rich patches exist within a mosaic of native‐dominated communities.

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