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Available from: Leopoldo Galicia, Jan 03, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: All organisms, especially terrestrial plants and other sessile species, interact mainly with their neighbors, but neighborhoods can differ in composition because of dispersal and mortality. There is increasingly strong evidence that the spatial structure created by these forces profoundly influences the dynamics, composition, and biodiversity of communities. Nonspatial models predict that no more consumer species can coexist at equilibrium than there are limiting resources. In contrast, a similar model that includes neighborhood competition and random dispersal among sites predicts stable coexistence of a potentially unlimited number of species on a single resource. Coexistence occurs because species with sufficiently high dispersal rates persist in sites not occupied by superior competitors. Coexistence requires limiting similarity and two-way or three-way interspecific trade-offs among competitive ability, colonization ability, and longevity. This spatial competition hypothesis seems to explain the coexistence of the numerous plant species that compete for a single limiting resource in the grasslands of Cedar Creek Natural History Area. It provides a testable, alternative explanation for other high diversity communities, such as tropical forests. The model can be tested (1) by determining if coexisting species have the requisite trade-offs in colonization, competition, and longevity, (2) by addition of propagules to determine if local species abundances are limited by dispersal, and (3) by comparisons of the effects on biodiversity of high rates of propagule addition for species that differ in competitive ability.
    Ecology 01/1994; 75(1-1):2-16. DOI:10.2307/1939377 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Landscapes are complex ecological systems that operate over broad spatiotemporal scales. Hierarchy theory conceptualizes such systems as composed of relatively isolated levels, each operating at a distinct time and space scale. This paper explores some basic properties of scaled systems with a view toward taking advantage of the scaled structure in predicting system dynamics. Three basic properties are explored:(1) hierarchical structuring, (2) disequilibrium, and (3) metastability. These three properties lead to three conclusions about complex ecological systems. First, predictions about landscape dynamics can often be based on constraints that directly result from scaled structure. Biotic potential and environmental limits form a constraint envelope, analogous to a niche hypervolume, within which the landscape system must operate. Second, within the constraint envelope, thermodynamic and other limiting factors may produce attractors toward which individual landscapes will tend to move. Third, because of changes in biotic potential and environmental conditions, both the constraint envelope and the local attractors change through time. Changes in the constraint structure may involve critical thresholds that result in radical changes in the state of the system. An attempt is made to define measurements to predict whether a specific landscape is approaching a critical threshold.
    Landscape Ecology 11/1989; 3(3):193-205. DOI:10.1007/BF00131538 · 3.50 Impact Factor