Traits, Habitats, and Clades: Identifying Traits of Potential Importance to Environmental Filtering
Environmental filtering is a fundamental process in the ecological assembly of communities. Recently developed phylogenetic tools identify patterns associated with environmental filtering across whole communities. Here we introduce a novel method that allows the detection of traits involved in the environmental filtering of species from specific clades in specific habitat types. Our approach identifies nonindependent trait/habitat/clade (THC) associations and also provides a framework for detecting clearly defined two‐way trait/clade, trait/habitat, and clade/habitat associations. The THC method relies on exact binomial tests and differentiates THC associations resulting from a three‐way interaction from those that are generated by one or more underlying significant two‐way interactions. It can also detect THC associations for which there are no significant two‐way associations (trait/habitat, trait/clade, clade/habitat). To illustrate the THC method, we examine plant pollination and dispersal t...