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Seasonal species interactions minimize the impact of species turnover on the likelihood of community persistence


Saavedra, Serguei; Rohr, Rudolf P; Fortuna, Miguel A; Selva, Nuria; Bascompte, Jordi (2016). Seasonal species interactions minimize the impact of species turnover on the likelihood of community persistence. Ecology, 97(4):865-873.

Abstract

Many of the observed species interactions embedded in ecological communities are not permanent, but are characterized by temporal changes that are observed along with abiotic and biotic variations. While work has been done describing and quantifying these changes, little is known about their consequences for species coexistence. Here, we investigate the extent to which changes of species composition impact the likelihood of persistence of the predator-prey community in the highly seasonal Białowieza Primeval Forest (northeast Poland), and the extent to which seasonal changes of species interactions (predator diet) modulate the expected impact. This likelihood is estimated extending recent developments on the study of structural stability in ecological communities. We find that the observed species turnover strongly varies the likelihood of community persistence between summer and winter. Importantly, we demonstrate that the observed seasonal interaction changes minimize the variation in the likelihood of persistence associated with species turnover across the year. We find that these community dynamics can be explained as the coupling of individual species to their environment by minimizing both the variation in persistence conditions and the interaction changes between seasons. Our results provide a homeostatic explanation for seasonal species interactions and suggest that monitoring the association of interactions changes with the level of variation in community dynamics can provide a good indicator of the response of species to environmental pressures.

Abstract

Many of the observed species interactions embedded in ecological communities are not permanent, but are characterized by temporal changes that are observed along with abiotic and biotic variations. While work has been done describing and quantifying these changes, little is known about their consequences for species coexistence. Here, we investigate the extent to which changes of species composition impact the likelihood of persistence of the predator-prey community in the highly seasonal Białowieza Primeval Forest (northeast Poland), and the extent to which seasonal changes of species interactions (predator diet) modulate the expected impact. This likelihood is estimated extending recent developments on the study of structural stability in ecological communities. We find that the observed species turnover strongly varies the likelihood of community persistence between summer and winter. Importantly, we demonstrate that the observed seasonal interaction changes minimize the variation in the likelihood of persistence associated with species turnover across the year. We find that these community dynamics can be explained as the coupling of individual species to their environment by minimizing both the variation in persistence conditions and the interaction changes between seasons. Our results provide a homeostatic explanation for seasonal species interactions and suggest that monitoring the association of interactions changes with the level of variation in community dynamics can provide a good indicator of the response of species to environmental pressures.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:April 2016
Deposited On:13 Feb 2017 11:37
Last Modified:14 Feb 2017 08:51
Publisher:Ecological Society of America
ISSN:0012-9658
Additional Information:Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1890/15-1013.1
PubMed ID:27220203

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