Springtail community structure is influenced by functional traits but not biogeographic origin of leaf litter in soils of novel forest ecosystems

Laura J. Raymond-Léonard, Dominique Gravel, Peter B. Reich, I. Tanya Handa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


With ongoing global change, shifts in the ranges of non-native species and resulting novel communities can modify biotic interactions and ecosystem processes. We hypothesized that traits and not biogeographic origin of novel plant communities will determine community structure of organisms that depend on plants for habitat or as a food resource. We tested the functional redundancy of novel tree communities by verifying if six pairs of congeneric European and North American tree species bearing similar leaf litter traits resulted in similar ecological filters influencing the assembly of springtail (Collembola) communities at two sites. Litter biogeographic origin (native versus non-native) did not influence springtail community structure, but litter genus, which generally reflected trait differences, did. Our empirical evidence suggests that a functional trait approach may be indeed as relevant as, and complementary to, studying biogeographic origin to understand the ecological consequences of non-native tree species in soils of novel forest ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20180647
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1879
StatePublished - May 30 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
this study can be found in supplementary support (see appendices S2.2 and S5 in the electronic supplementary material). Authors’ contributions. L.J.R.-L. and I.T.H. conceived the study, developed the methodology, interpreted results and led the writing of the manuscript. L.J.R.-L. collected the data and performed analyses. D.G. and P.B.R. are local principal investigators, respectively, of the Auclair and Cloquet IDENT sites. They facilitated data acquisition logistics and contributed through critical review of the manuscript. Competing interests. We declare we have no competing interests. Funding. This research was supported by NSERC Discovery and Canadian Foundation for Innovation Leader grants to I.T.H. and NSERC Collaborative Research and Training Experience program in Forest Complexity Modeling, NSERC Alexander Graham Bell and FQRNT graduate scholarships to L.J.R.-L. Acknowledgements. We are indebted to our colleagues in the IDENT network, particularly Alain Paquette and Christian Messier who established and coordinated the original experiments and have facilitated interactions among IDENT members since. We thank Artur Stefanski for field support and providing environmental data for the Cloquet site. We also thank Dominique Bélanger (C and N concentration analyses), Jonathan Brassard (pH), Peter Kennedy (pH), Laura Willliams (soil moisture) for site description data and the multiple undergraduate students who provided assistance with data collection. Alain Paquette and Jérôme Cortet provided thoughtful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.


  • Biodiversity
  • Collembola
  • Exotic species
  • Functional diversity
  • Mesofauna

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