Mark Davidson Jewell1* and Graham Bell1,21Department of Biology, McGill University; 1205 ave Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada.2Redpath Museum, McGill University; 859 Sherbrooke St West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 0C4, Canada.*Corresponding author: mark.jewell@mail.mcgill.caABSTRACT:An entire community of organisms may become modified when its environment changes. These modifications can happen through physiological process (plasticity), evolutionary processes (adaptation) or shifts in species composition (sorting). The outcome of these three sources of change constitutes the community’s phenotypic response, but how they combine to drive community trait dynamics is not currently well understood. We have conducted a community selection experiment in which communities of short-lived floating aquatic plants were grown in a range of stressful conditions, and measured changes in their body size. Determinants of phenotypic change were assessed with a full community reciprocal transplant which led to estimates of the contributions of plasticity, adaptation, and sorting. Species were modified during the experiment by both plasticity and adaptation, but in either case the magnitude and direction of change differed among species. Sorting and adaptation were of equal magnitude, but tended to act in opposite directions: in conditions where species with large fronds prevailed, each species evolved smaller fronds, and vice versa. We conclude that community trait dynamics cannot be understood simply by extrapolating the adaptive response of any single species to the whole community.