Arthropod community similarity in clonal stands of aspen: A test of the genetic similarity rule

Nashelly Meneses, Joseph K. Bailey, Gerard J. Allan, Randy K. Bangert, Matthew A. Bowker, Brian J. Rehill, Gina M. Wimp, Richard L. Lindroth, Thomas G. Whitham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Understanding the factors that affect community composition is essential for community ecology. The genetic similarity rule (GSR) identifies 3 variables (host genetic composition, phytochemistry, and the environment) that could affect community composition. Few studies have determined the relative influence of these variables on community composition. Using path analysis, we found that arthropod community similarity was better explained by geographic (56%) and environmental (32%) distance than genetic distance in clonal aspen (Populus tremuloides). Comparing our data with data from similar studies of poplars (P. fremontii and P. fremontii × P. angustifolia hybrids), we found that hybrid poplar stands had higher levels of genetic and arthropod diversity than did clonal aspen stands. We found a significant relationship between genetic and arthropod diversity only in hybrid stands and across Populus systems. Our findings agree with the GSR expectations that the importance of the genetic composition of the host in structuring communities depends in part on the amount of genetic variation present in the study system. This is relevant for management and restoration strategies of geographically restricted species and of disjunct populations of otherwise widespread species, as these tend to have lower effective population sizes and reduced levels of genetic diversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-58
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • community composition
  • environment
  • genetics
  • geographic distance
  • phytochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Arthropod community similarity in clonal stands of aspen: A test of the genetic similarity rule'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this