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Do priority effects outweigh environmental filtering in a guild of dominant freshwater macroinvertebrates?


Little, Chelsea J; Altermatt, Florian (2018). Do priority effects outweigh environmental filtering in a guild of dominant freshwater macroinvertebrates? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 285(1876):20180205.

Abstract

Abiotic conditions have long been considered essential in structuring fresh-water macroinvertebrate communities. Ecological drift, dispersal and biotic interactions also structure communities, and although these mechanisms are more difficult to detect, they may be of equal importance in natural com- munities. Here, we hypothesized that in 10 naturally replicated headwater streams in eastern Switzerland, locally dominant amphipod species would be associated with differences in environmental conditions. We conducted repeated surveys of amphipods and used a hierarchical joint species distribution model to assess the influence of different drivers on species co-occurrences. The species had unique environmental requirements, but a distinct spatial structure in their distributions was unrelated to habitat. Species co-occurred much less frequently than predicted by the model, which was surprising because laboratory and field evidence suggests they are capable of coexisting in equal densities. We suggest that niche preemption may limit their distribution and that a blocking effect related to the specific linear configuration of streams determines which species colonizes and dominates a given stream catchment, thus suggesting a new solution a long-standing conundrum in freshwater ecology.

Abstract

Abiotic conditions have long been considered essential in structuring fresh-water macroinvertebrate communities. Ecological drift, dispersal and biotic interactions also structure communities, and although these mechanisms are more difficult to detect, they may be of equal importance in natural com- munities. Here, we hypothesized that in 10 naturally replicated headwater streams in eastern Switzerland, locally dominant amphipod species would be associated with differences in environmental conditions. We conducted repeated surveys of amphipods and used a hierarchical joint species distribution model to assess the influence of different drivers on species co-occurrences. The species had unique environmental requirements, but a distinct spatial structure in their distributions was unrelated to habitat. Species co-occurred much less frequently than predicted by the model, which was surprising because laboratory and field evidence suggests they are capable of coexisting in equal densities. We suggest that niche preemption may limit their distribution and that a blocking effect related to the specific linear configuration of streams determines which species colonizes and dominates a given stream catchment, thus suggesting a new solution a long-standing conundrum in freshwater ecology.

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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)
Uncontrolled Keywords:amphipod, aquatic ecology, community assembly, competition, metacommunity, species distributions
Language:English
Date:11 April 2018
Deposited On:02 Oct 2018 15:16
Last Modified:24 Sep 2019 23:37
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0205
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P3_150698
  • : Project TitleBridging biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in dendritic networks: a meta-ecosystem perspective

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