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Stefan Hendrik Foord (University of Venda) (October 09, 2017)

Speaker: Stefan Hendrik Foord  (University of Venda)  

TitlePhylogenetic and functional perspectives on b-diversity: the case of spiders and ants along elevation 

Time: October 09 (Monday) 2017, 9:30am

Venue: Laboratory of Southwestern Biodiversity, 1st floor conference room (1-22-23)

Everyone is welcome! 

Introduction of the speaker:

Stefan Hendrik Foord, Professor, Department of Zoology, Center for Invasion Biology, School of Mathematical & Natural Science, University of Venda, P Bag X5050, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa. Prof. Stefan Hendrik Foord’s research interest is “Invertebrate diversity and function in changing environments”. He has hosted severals successful external grant applications and he published a few decades papers, written or participated in writing the chapters of two books. Prof. Stefan Hendrik Foord has taken part in community service “National Research Foundation (South Africa) intern program, project the use of ants and spiders in citizen-scientist initiatives in promoting biodiversity awareness”. And he also received many awards, such as  Active Researcher Award, Best Overall Researcher and so on. 

Brief of the presentation

Understanding broad-scale patterns in community composition has both theoretical and practical implications. Key to this understanding is identifying the drivers of beta diversity in both space and time. Much of this research has focused on taxonomic approaches, but recent advances provides for the inclusion of functional and phylogenetic approaches. Ants and spiders were caught along an elevational transect across a mountain in South Africa. b-diversity was decomposed into turnover and nested components. Functional and taxonomic b-diversity was similar, but functional b-diversity was driven by nestedness, while taxonomic b-diversity was the result of turnover. Phylogenetic b-diversity low with turnover and nestedness contributing equal amounts. Similar results were found for both ants and spiders. Although there are considerable turnover in species along the transect, trait diversity is filtered out with increased elevation on the mountain. While distance and elevation is important in explaining taxonomic b-diversity, functional b-diversity is driven by soil properties and habitat structure. This analytical framework could provide a basis for monitoring the impact of anthropogenic influences on spider and ant diversity.   

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