Integrating environmental and spatial processes in ecological community dynamics

Integrating environmental and spatial processes in ecological community dynamics The processes controlling the abundances of species across multiple sites form the cornerstone of modern ecology. In these metacommunities, the relative importance of local environmental and regional spatial processes is currently hotly debated, especially in terms of the validity of neutral model. I collected 158 published data sets with information on community structure, environmental and spatial variables. I showed that approximately 50% of the variation in community composition is explained by both environmental and spatial variables. The majority of the data sets were structured by species‐sorting dynamics (SS), followed by a combination of SS and mass‐effect dynamics. While neutral processes were the only structuring process in 8% of the collected natural communities, disregarding neutral dispersal processes would result in missing important patterns in 37% of the studied communities. Moreover, metacommunity characteristics such as dispersal type, habitat type and spatial scale predicted part of the detected variation in metacommunity structure. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ecology Letters Wiley

Integrating environmental and spatial processes in ecological community dynamics

Ecology Letters, Volume 8 (11) – Nov 1, 2005

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
1461-023X
eISSN
1461-0248
DOI
10.1111/j.1461-0248.2005.00820.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The processes controlling the abundances of species across multiple sites form the cornerstone of modern ecology. In these metacommunities, the relative importance of local environmental and regional spatial processes is currently hotly debated, especially in terms of the validity of neutral model. I collected 158 published data sets with information on community structure, environmental and spatial variables. I showed that approximately 50% of the variation in community composition is explained by both environmental and spatial variables. The majority of the data sets were structured by species‐sorting dynamics (SS), followed by a combination of SS and mass‐effect dynamics. While neutral processes were the only structuring process in 8% of the collected natural communities, disregarding neutral dispersal processes would result in missing important patterns in 37% of the studied communities. Moreover, metacommunity characteristics such as dispersal type, habitat type and spatial scale predicted part of the detected variation in metacommunity structure.

Journal

Ecology LettersWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2005

References

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