Community form, function and phylogenetic diversity respond differently across microhabitat and recovery gradients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research Highlight: Hoenle, P. O., Staab, M., Donoso, D. A., Argoti, A., & Blüthgen, N. (2023). Stratification and recovery time jointly shape ant functional reassembly in a neotropical forest. Journal of Animal Ecology, Space, time and abiotic variation are primary axes across investigations of community ecology and disturbed ecosystems offer tractable systems for assessing their relative impact. While recovering forests can act as isolated case studies in understanding community assembly, it is not well understood how individual microhabitats respond to recovery and ultimately shape community attributes. Hoenle et al. (2023) leverage the ubiquity and microhabitat-specific diversity of ants across a gradient from active agricultural sites to old-growth forest and assess how recovery and stratification together shape communities. The authors find distinct stratification across phylogenetic, functional and trait diversity as forest recovery time increases, while also recovering unique recovery trajectories contingent on trait sampling. While stratified, phylogenetic and functional diversity did not increase along this recovery gradient. Ten out of 13 sampled traits were jointly influenced by both stratification and recovery time. In contrast to intuitive predictions, a majority of trait means converged throughout the recovery period. Results highlight the multifaceted nature of recovery-based community assembly and the capacity of multidimensional sampling to uncover surprising patterns in ecologically diverse lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1290-1293
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


  • ants
  • functional traits
  • microhabitat
  • recovery
  • stratification
  • trait-based ecology


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