Supplementary dataset: Tracking succession by means of 3D scans of plant communities in a glacier forefield to infer assembly processes

Published: 13 August 2023| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/ztmwmbg9pd.3
Robert Junker, Xie He, Maximilian Hanusch, Lucy Saueressig, Annette Schriever, Tobias Seifert, Helene Villhauer, Verena Zieschank


Supplementary dataset for START-Project from 2019-2022 at the Ödenwinkel research platform, Austria, used in "Using community features to track plant successions and infer assembly processes" Abstract In primary successions, assembling plant communities are key for ecosystem functioning and stability. Often, plant successions are described on a taxonomic, phylogenetic and/or functional level, where species’ identities and traits are considered. In this study, we additionally considered community features characterizing whole plant assemblages to capture emerging properties only available at the community level. Using a customized multispectral 3D plant scanner that returns morphological and physiological parameters of communities that represent proxies for the frequency distribution of traits within a community and inform about the productivity, the prevalence of competition among plant species, and ecosystem functions of local vegetation. By tracking taxonomic and phylogenetic composition and diversity of communities as well as changes in plant strategies and functions, our data indicate, among others, shift from fast-growing, acquisitive to slow-growing, conservative plant strategies; increased productivity; higher competition between plant species; and an increasing contribution to the biogeomorphic stability. Analogous to trait-based approaches on the species level, we used community feature dissimilarities and measures on environmental heterogeneity to infer community assembly processes. Consistent with successional theory, our results indicate that stochastic processes dominate in the early successional stage, whereas communities are mainly shaped by deterministic processes including environmental filtering and species interactions at late succession. We conclude that assessments of plant community features, facilitated by the use of field-ready 3D scanners, provide complementary information to trait-based approaches on the species level with implications for ecological processes. Dataset includes: PlantEye data Quantitative traits Qualitative traits



Ecology, Vegetation Succession, Alpine Ecosystem, Community Assembly