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Analysing taxonomic structures and local ecological processes in temperate forests in North Eastern China

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Ecology, October 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (73rd percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

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1 blog


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Analysing taxonomic structures and local ecological processes in temperate forests in North Eastern China
Published in
BMC Ecology, October 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12898-017-0143-y
Pubmed ID

Chunyu Fan, Lingzhao Tan, Chunyu Zhang, Xiuhai Zhao, Klaus von Gadow


One of the core issues of forest community ecology is the exploration of how ecological processes affect community structure. The relative importance of different processes is still under debate. This study addresses four questions: (1) how is the taxonomic structure of a forest community affected by spatial scale? (2) does the taxonomic structure reveal effects of local processes such as environmental filtering, dispersal limitation or interspecific competition at a local scale? (3) does the effect of local processes on the taxonomic structure vary with the spatial scale? (4) does the analysis based on taxonomic structures provide similar insights when compared with the use of phylogenetic information? Based on the data collected in two large forest observational field studies, the taxonomic structures of the plant communities were analyzed at different sampling scales using taxonomic ratios (number of genera/number of species, number of families/number of species), and the relationship between the number of higher taxa and the number of species. Two random null models were used and the "standardized effect size" (SES) of taxonomic ratios was calculated, to assess possible differences between the observed and simulated taxonomic structures, which may be caused by specific ecological processes. We further applied a phylogeny-based method to compare results with those of the taxonomic approach. As expected, the taxonomic ratios decline with increasing grain size. The quantitative relationship between genera/families and species, described by a linearized power function, showed a good fit. With the exception of the family-species relationship in the Jiaohe study area, the exponents of the genus/family-species relationships did not show any scale dependent effects. The taxonomic ratios of the observed communities had significantly lower values than those of the simulated random community under the test of two null models at almost all scales. Null Model 2 which considered the spatial dispersion of species generated a taxonomic structure which proved to be more consistent with that in the observed community. As sampling sizes increased from 20 m × 20 m to 50 m × 50 m, the magnitudes of SESs of taxonomic ratios increased. Based on the phylogenetic analysis, we found that the Jiaohe plot was phylogenetically clustered at almost all scales. We detected significant phylogenetically overdispersion at the 20 m × 20 m and 30 m × 30 m scales in the Liangshui plot. The results suggest that the effect of abiotic filtering is greater than the effects of interspecific competition in shaping the local community at almost all scales. Local processes influence the taxonomic structures, but their combined effects vary with the spatial scale. The taxonomic approach provides similar insights as the phylogenetic approach, especially when we applied a more conservative null model. Analysing taxonomic structure may be a useful tool for communities where well-resolved phylogenetic data are not available.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 16 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 16 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 3 19%
Student > Bachelor 2 13%
Researcher 2 13%
Student > Ph. D. Student 1 6%
Professor 1 6%
Other 1 6%
Unknown 6 38%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 6 38%
Environmental Science 2 13%
Unknown 8 50%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 6. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 21 March 2018.
All research outputs
of 12,689,756 outputs
Outputs from BMC Ecology
of 318 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 314,634 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Ecology
of 40 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,689,756 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done well and is in the 77th percentile: it's in the top 25% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 318 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 13.5. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 55% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 314,634 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 73% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 40 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 50% of its contemporaries.