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Task 4.3.2. Testing assembly rules

Task lead: Martin Zobel, University of Tartu, Estonia

Assembly rules are observed patterns of species presence and abundance, compared to random aggregations. We performed a meta-analysis of the existing attempts to find assembly rules, in order to generalize the existing knowledge and methods. We found that nonrandom co-occurrence and niche limitation are not common phenomena while guild proportionality and limiting similarity become rarely evident in plant communities.

Empirical tests of assembly rules were conducted in alpine  grassland and boreonemoral forest communities. In the first case, we found numerous significant co-occurrence patterns for species (even using environmentally constrained null models) but very few non-random habitat filtering and limiting similarity using trait based approach. In the second case, we found that plant communities showed limited degree of non-random co-occurrence of species and niche limitation, but virtually no guild proportionality and limiting similarity.

  • Götzenberger, L.; Pottier, J.; Zobel, K.; Koorem, K., Moora, M., Pärtel, M.; Zobel, M. Assembly rules emerge at fine scale in forest understory. Submitted to Journal of Vegetation Science.



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