Despite being recognized as a promoter of diversity and a condition for local coexistence decades ago, the importance of intraspecific variance has been neglected over time in community ecology. Recently, there has been a new emphasis on intraspecific variability. Indeed, recent developments in trait-based community ecology have underlined the need to integrate variation at both the intraspecific as well as interspecific level. We introduce new T-statistics ('T' for trait), based on the comparison of intraspecific and interspecific variances of functional traits across organizational levels, to operationally incorporate intraspecific variability into community ecology theory. We show that a focus on the distribution of traits at local and regional scales combined with original analytical tools can provide unique insights into the primary forces structuring communities.
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