Environmental Gradients and Functional Trait Variation

Most species have geographic ranges broad enough such that they have populations of different sizes in a wide variety of environments. Changes in species abundance along environmental gradients have a long history of being quantified in community ecology and it is common for functional ecologists to quantify the change in mean trait values along environmental gradients. This gives rise to the expectation that traits interact with the abiotic environment dictating performance and ultimately local abundance. We are developing a project in which we integrate information on functional traits, performance along environmental gradients to examine underlying factors driving variation in species distributions.