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Evaluating life-history strategies of reef corals from species traits.
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Evaluating life-history strategies of reef corals from species traits.

Author: ES Darling Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. edarling@sfu.caL Alvarez-FilipTA OliverTR McClanahanIM CôtéAll authors
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Ecology letters, 2012 Dec; 15(12): 1378-86
Other Databases: WorldCatWorldCat
Summary:
Classifying the biological traits of organisms can test conceptual frameworks of life-history strategies and allow for predictions of how different species may respond to environmental disturbances. We apply a trait-based classification approach to a complex and threatened group of species, scleractinian corals. Using hierarchical clustering and random forests analyses, we identify up to four life-history strategies  Read more...
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: ES Darling Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. edarling@sfu.ca; L Alvarez-Filip; TA Oliver; TR McClanahan; IM Côté; D Bellwood
ISSN:1461-023X
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 813168871
Awards:

Abstract:

Classifying the biological traits of organisms can test conceptual frameworks of life-history strategies and allow for predictions of how different species may respond to environmental disturbances. We apply a trait-based classification approach to a complex and threatened group of species, scleractinian corals. Using hierarchical clustering and random forests analyses, we identify up to four life-history strategies that appear globally consistent across 143 species of reef corals: competitive, weedy, stress-tolerant and generalist taxa, which are primarily separated by colony morphology, growth rate and reproductive mode. Documented shifts towards stress-tolerant, generalist and weedy species in coral reef communities are consistent with the expected responses of these life-history strategies. Our quantitative trait-based approach to classifying life-history strategies is objective, applicable to any taxa and a powerful tool that can be used to evaluate theories of community ecology and predict the impact of environmental and anthropogenic stressors on species assemblages.

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