21 Jun 2022
21 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Seed traits and phylogeny explain plant’s geographic distributions

Kai Chen1,2,7, Kevin S. Burgess3, Fangliang He4, Xiang-Yun Yang1, Lian-Ming Gao2,5, and De-Zhu Li1,2,6 Kai Chen et al.
  • 1Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China
  • 2CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China
  • 3Department of Biology, College of Letters and Sciences, Columbus State University, University System of Georgia, Columbus, GA 31907-5645, USA
  • 4Department of Renewable Resources, University of Alberta, Alberta, Canada
  • 5Lijiang Forest Biodiversity National Observation and Research Station, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lijiang 674100, Yunnan, China
  • 6Kunming College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China
  • 7Key Laboratory of Insect Resources Conservation and Utilization in Western Yunnan, Baoshan University, Baoshan, Yunnan 678000, China

Abstract. Understanding the mechanisms that shape the geographic distribution of plant species is a central theme of biogeography. Although seed mass, seed dispersal mode and phylogeny have long been suspected to affect species distribution, the link between the sources of variation of these attributes and their effects to the distribution of seed plants are poorly documented. This study aims to quantify the joint effects of key seed traits and phylogeny on species’ distribution. We collected seed mass and seed dispersal mode from 1,426 species of seed plants representing 501 genera of 122 families and used 4,138,851 specimens to model species distributional range size. Phylogenetic generalized least squares regression and variation partitioning were performed to estimate the effects of seed mass, seed dispersal mode and phylogeny on species distribution. We found that species distributional range size was significantly constrained by phylogeny. Seed mass and its intraspecific variation were also important in limiting species distribution, but their effects were different among species with different dispersal modes. Variation partitioning revealed that seed mass, seed mass variability, seed dispersal mode and phylogeny together explained 46.82 % of the variance in species range size. Although seed traits are not typically used to model the geographic distributions of seed plants, our study provides direct evidence showing seed mass, seed dispersal mode and phylogeny are important in explaining species geographic distribution. This finding underscores the necessity to include seed traits and the phylogenetic history of species in climate-based niche models for predicting the response of plant geographic distribution to climate change.

Kai Chen et al.

Status: open (until 02 Aug 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Kai Chen et al.

Kai Chen et al.


Total article views: 134 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
98 30 6 134 2 3
  • HTML: 98
  • PDF: 30
  • XML: 6
  • Total: 134
  • BibTeX: 2
  • EndNote: 3
Views and downloads (calculated since 21 Jun 2022)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 21 Jun 2022)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 115 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 115 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
Latest update: 02 Jul 2022
Short summary
Why do plants distributional range size vary enormously? This study provides evidence that seed mass, intraspecific seed mass variation, seed dispersal mode and phylogeny contribute to explaining species distribution variation on the geographic scale. Our study clearly shows the importance of including seed life-history traits in modeling and predicting the impact of climate change on species distribution of seed plants.