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  1. Abstract

    One mechanism proposed to explain high species diversity in tropical systems is strong negative conspecific density dependence (CDD), which reduces recruitment of juveniles in proximity to conspecific adult plants. Although evidence shows that plant-specific soil pathogens can drive negative CDD, trees also form key mutualisms with mycorrhizal fungi, which may counteract these effects. Across 43 large-scale forest plots worldwide, we tested whether ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibit weaker negative CDD than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. We further tested for conmycorrhizal density dependence (CMDD) to test for benefit from shared mutualists. We found that the strength of CDD varies systematically with mycorrhizal type, with ectomycorrhizal tree species exhibiting higher sapling densities with increasing adult densities than arbuscular mycorrhizal tree species. Moreover, we found evidence of positive CMDD for tree species of both mycorrhizal types. Collectively, these findings indicate that mycorrhizal interactions likely play a foundational role in global forest diversity patterns and structure.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Flowering and fruiting phenology have been infrequently studied in the ever‐wet hyperdiverse lowland forests of northwestern equatorial Amazonía. These Neotropical forests are typically called aseasonal with reference to climate because they are ever‐wet, and it is often assumed they are also aseasonal with respect to phenology. The physiological limits to plant reproduction imposed by water and light availability are difficult to disentangle in seasonal forests because these variables are often temporally correlated, and both are rarely studied together, challenging our understanding of their relative importance as drivers of reproduction. Here we report on the first long‐term study (18 years) of flowering and fruiting phenology in a diverse equatorial forest, Yasuní in eastern Ecuador, and the first to include a full suite of on‐site monthly climate data. Using twice monthly censuses of 200 traps and >1000 species, we determined whether reproduction at Yasuní is seasonal at the community and species levels and analyzed the relationships between environmental variables and phenology. We also tested the hypothesis that seasonality in phenology, if present, is driven primarily by irradiance. Both the community‐ and species‐level measures demonstrated strong reproductive seasonality at Yasuní. Flowering peaked in September–November and fruiting peaked in March–April, with a strong annual signal for both phenophases. Irradiance and rainfall were also highly seasonal, even though no month on average experienced drought (a month with <100 mm rainfall). Flowering was positively correlated with current or near‐current irradiance, supporting our hypothesis that the extra energy available during the period of peak irradiance drives the seasonality of flowering at Yasuní. As Yasuní is representative of lowland ever‐wet equatorial forests of northwestern Amazonía, we expect that reproductive phenology will be strongly seasonal throughout this region.

     
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  3. Summary

    Hyperprior specifications for random fields in spatial point process modelling can have a major influence on the results. In fitting log-Gaussian Cox processes to rainforest tree species, we consider a reparameterized model combining a spatially structured and an unstructured random field into a single component. This component has one hyperparameter accounting for marginal variance, whereas an additional hyperparameter governs the fraction of the variance that is explained by the spatially structured effect. This facilitates interpretation of the hyperparameters, and significance of covariates is studied for a range of hyperprior specifications. Appropriate scaling makes the analysis invariant to grid resolution.

     
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EcM) associations are critical for host-tree performance. However, how mycorrhizal associations correlate with the latitudinal tree beta-diversity remains untested. Using a global dataset of 45 forest plots representing 2,804,270 trees across 3840 species, we test how AM and EcM trees contribute to total beta-diversity and its components (turnover and nestedness) of all trees. We find AM rather than EcM trees predominantly contribute to decreasing total beta-diversity and turnover and increasing nestedness with increasing latitude, probably because wide distributions of EcM trees do not generate strong compositional differences among localities. Environmental variables, especially temperature and precipitation, are strongly correlated with beta-diversity patterns for both AM trees and all trees rather than EcM trees. Results support our hypotheses that latitudinal beta-diversity patterns and environmental effects on these patterns are highly dependent on mycorrhizal types. Our findings highlight the importance of AM-dominated forests for conserving global forest biodiversity. 
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