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Comparing patterns in phylogenetic and trait diversity
Studying the phylogeny led to the emergence of interdisciplinary approaches combining ecology, evolutionary biology and biogeography. The analysis of the phylogenetic relatedness among species complemented the analysis of the functional (trait-based) similarities among species, and even sometimes replaced it when phylogenetic relatedness was considered as a proxy for functional similarity. The use of phylogenetic diversity as a proxy for functional diversity as been questioned due to the observation of moderate phylogenetic signal in many field studies. From a methodological viewpoint, a fundamental difference between phylogenetic and functional analyses is that phylogeny is intrinsically dependent on a tree-like structure whereas trait data can, most of time, only be forced to adhere a tree structure, not without some loss of information. I will discuss the ways phylogenetic and functional diversity patterns can be compared and the consequences of their simultaneous analyses for conservation and community ecology.