INTRACO - Unravelling the role of intraspecific variability in tree species coexistence in tropical forest

First meeting: 16.-20.05.2022

Ghislain Vieilledent
Isabelle Marechaux

Hundreds of tree species can coexist within a single hectare of tropical forest. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain how so many species can stably coexist while competing for a limited number of resources (mainly light, water, and nutrients). Among these mechanisms, the role of intraspecific variability (IV), which is large in tree communities, has only been recently considered. Studies that have so far explored the effect of IV on species coexistence focused on species-poor systems, used disparate approaches, and reached contrasting results. IV can result from genetic variability and could make species less different, hindering their stable coexistence. A different view is that observed IV is primarily the result of fine-scale environmental variability and could reveal differences among species on unobserved dimensions, promoting species coexistence. Our project proposes to provide a clear synthesis of the effect of IV on species coexistence in hyperdiverse communities combining literature review, empirical data-set analyses, and both theoretical and data-based models. Our results will help understand and predict changes in biodiversity in a global change context.

Ghislain Vieilledent - CIRAD (France) ; Isabelle Marechaux– INRAE (France); Adam T.  Clark – iDiv (Germany); James S.  Clark – Duke University (USA) / INRAE (France); Benoit Courbaud– INRAE (France); Camille Girard-Tercieux – CNRS (France);  Nadja Rüger– iDiv (Germany)

Meeting report

Second meeting: 25.-29.09.2023

In person participants:
Adam Clark (University of Graz), Claire Fortunel (IRD), Nadja Rüger (iDiv), Ghislain Vieilledent (CIRAD)

Remote participants:
Jim Clark (Duke University), Benoît Courbaud (INRAE), Camille Girard-Tercieux (CNRS), Georges Kunstler (INRAE), Isabelle Maréchaux (INRAE)

Meeting report


Girard-Tercieux, C., Maréchaux, I., Clark, A. T., Clark, J. S., Courbaud, B., Fortunel, C., Guillemot, J., Künstler, G., le Maire, G., Pélissier, R., Rüger, N., & Vieilledent, G. (2023). Rethinking the nature of intraspecific variability and its consequences on species coexistence. Ecology and Evolution, 13, e9860. See here


Camille Girard-Tercieux, Ghislain Vieilledent, Adam Clark, James S. Clark, Benoit Courbaud, Claire Fortunel, Georges Kunstler, Raphaël Pélissier, Nadja Rüger, Isabelle Maréchaux. Beyond variance: simple random distributions are not a good proxy for intraspecific variability in systems with environmental structure. See here

James Clark, Adam Clark, Benoit Courbaud, Claire Fortunel, Camille Girard-Tercieux, Georges Kunstler, Isabelle Maréchaux, Nadja Rüger, Ghislain Vieilledent. A universal coexistence hypothesis resolves the biodiversity paradox: Species differences that generate diverse forests. See here

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