Increased complexity in biological communities can increase the variety of interactions among species, but the relative strengths and long-term consequences of various direct and indirect interactions require further investigation. I studied interactions among four species of protists by monitoring their population dynamics when they were cultured either together or in seven different subset communities. Two protists were bacterivores ( Chilomonas and Tetrahymena ) and two were predators ( Actinosphaerium and Euplotes ). Actinosphaerium was omnivorous, and could eat both predatory Euplotes and bacterivores. Three indirect effects occurred among the four species of protists, including indirect facilitation of one predator by the other, apparent competition between bacterivores, and indirect facilitation of one bacterivore by the omnivorous predator. Community structure and invasibility depended on both direct and indirect effects; thus both can be mechanisms for assembly rules.
Oecologia – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 1993
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