Stegen, J.C. and N.G. Swenson
A classic community assembly hypothesis is that all guilds must be represented before additional species from any given guild enter the community. We conceptually extend this hypothesis to continuous functional traits, refine the hypothesis with an eco-evolutionary model of interaction network community assembly, and compare the resultant continuous trait assembly rule to empirical data. A “revised” assembly rule did, however, emerge from the eco- evolutionary model: as communities assemble, the range in trait values will increase to a maximum and then remain relatively constant irrespective of further changes in species richness. This rule makes the corollary prediction that the trait range will, on average, be a saturating function of species richness.