Plant diversity and functional trait composition during mire development
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CitationLaine, AM. Selänpää, T. Oksanen, J. Seväkivi, M. Tuittila, E-S. (2018). Plant diversity and functional trait composition during mire development. Mires and Peat, 21, 1-19. 10.19189/MaP.2017.OMB.280.
During succession, plant species composition undergoes changes that may have implications for ecosystem functions. Here we aimed to study changes in plant species diversity, functional diversity and functional traits associated with mire development. We sampled vegetation from 22 mires on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Bothnia (west coast of Finland) that together represent seven different time steps along a mire chronosequence resulting from post-glacial rebound. This chronosequence spans a time period of almost 2500 years. Information about 15 traits of vascular plants and 17 traits of mosses was collected, mainly from two different databases. In addition to species richness and Shannon diversity index, we measured functional diversity and community weighted means of functional traits. We found that plant species diversity increased from the early succession stages towards the fen–bog transition. The latter stage also has the most diverse surface structure, consisting of pools and hummocks. Functional diversity increased linearly with species richness, suggesting a lack of functional redundancy during mire succession. On the other hand, Rao’s quadratic entropy, another index of functional diversity, remained rather constant throughout the succession. The changes in functional traits indicate a trade-off between acquisitive and conservative strategies. The functional redundancy, i.e. the lackautogenic control, community weighted functional trait, functional diversity, primary succession, species diversity of overlap between similarly functioning species, may indicate that the resistance to environmental disturbances such as drainage or climate change does not change during mire succession. However, the trait trade-off towards conservative strategy, together with the developing microtopography of hummocks and hollows with strongly differing vegetation composition, could increase resistance during mire succession.