Comparative functional plant ecology: rationale and potentials

Carlos M. Duarte*, Kaj Sand-Jensen, Søren Laurentlus Nielsen, Susana Enríquez, Susana Agustí

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The long tradition and early training in plant taxonomy and evolutionary theory have led to the preconceived notion among plant ecologists that plant diversity represents the sum of distinct classes, rather than a continuum of variation. Thus, broad-scale comparisons across different taxa are viewed with scepticism. Yet, the unarticulated reluctance to compare the functional properties of phototrophic organisms across broad ranges of plant types is not well-grounded. Broad comparisons are likely to capture most of the functional variance that these organisms display and lead to general conclusions, albeit sometimes imprecise for individual species. Ecological synthesis could be fostered if scientists working with the different plant types made efforts to Increase connectance between them by highlighting similarities, instead of formulating Independent theories to account for similar phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-421
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Ecology & Evolution
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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