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Silvertown describes on p 86 a test to evaluate whether phylogeny may explain the appearance of plant niches in Gowing’s dataset – for example if all monocots in his 60 species dataset occupied one portion of niche space, and dicots occupied a different part of niche space. This would mean that niches could only explain the coexistence of a monocot and a dicot, but would not contribute to the maintenance of multiple species within these groups in the grassland ecosystem. Draw two X-Y graphs with labeled axes, and populate one graph with monocots (X) and dicots (O) assuming that there was a strong phylogenetic signal (ie, these two groups are very similar) and the second graph assuming that there was no phylogenetic signal (as it turned out in reality).
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