Article

The effects of colonization, extinction and competition on co-existence in metacommunities.

Mathematical Ecology Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford.
Journal of Animal Ecology (Impact Factor: 4.84). 04/2009; 78(4):866-79. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2009.01532.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 1. The co-existence of competitors in heterogeneous landscapes depends on the processes of colonization, extinction and spatial scale. In this study, we explore the metapopulation dynamics of competitive interactions. 2. Rather than simply evaluating the outcome of interspecific competition in the traditional manner, we focus on both the local population dynamic effects and the regional metapopulation processes affecting species co-existence. 3. We develop a theoretical model of regional co-existence to generate a set of predictions on the patterns of colonization necessary for co-existence and the regional processes that can lead to competitive exclusion. We empirically test these predictions using metacommunity microcosms of the interaction between two bruchid beetles (Callosobruchus chinensis, Callosobruchus maculatus). 4. Using well-replicated time series of the interaction between the bruchids and statistical methods of model fitting, we show how the qualitative and quantitative pattern of interspecific competition between the bruchid beetles is shaped by the structure of the metacommunity. 5. In unlimited dispersal metacommunities, the global exclusion of the inferior competitor is shown to be influenced more by the processes associated with extinction rather than low colonization ability. In restricted dispersal metacommunities, we show how the co-existence of competitors in a spatially heterogeneous habitat (patches connected through limited dispersal) is affected by Allee effects and life-history [colonization (dispersal) - competition] trade-offs.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
116 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We studied patterns of microhabitat use by adults of two sympatric Bokermannohyla species at the Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Santuário do Caraça, southeastern Brazil. We selected three streams, one where both species occurred in syntopy and the other two where each one occurred alone. We sampled 150-m transects in each stream throughout 1 year, recording microhabitat features for each frog located (substrate type, height and distance from water).Microhabitat availability varied between dry and wet seasons in all streams, and overall microhabitat diversity changed in two streams. Bokermannohyla nanuzae seemed to have a niche contraction in the presence of Bokermannohyla martinsi, but this only happened during the dry season. Microhabitat requirements during the wet season may be closely linked to similar reproductive needs that probably represent a strong selective pressure, forcing niche overlap.
    Journal of Natural History 08/2013; · 0.78 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: One of the simplest hypotheses used to explain species coexistence is the competition-colonization trade-off, that is, species can stably coexist in a landscape if they show a trade-off between competitive and colonization abilities. Despite extensive theory, the dynamics predicted to result from competition-colonization trade-offs are largely untested. Landscape change, such as habitat destruction, is thought to greatly influence coexistence under competition-colonization dynamics, although there is no formal test of this prediction. Here we present the first illustration of competition-colonization dynamics that fully transposes theory into a controlled experimental metacommunity of two Pseudomonas bacterial strains. The competition-colonization dynamics were achieved by directly manipulating trade-off strength and colonization rates to generate the full range of coexistence conditions and responses to habitat destruction. Our study successfully generates competition-colonization dynamics matching theoretical predictions, and our results further reveal a negative relationship between diversity and productivity when scaling up to entire metacommunities.
    Nature Communications 12/2012; 3:1234. · 10.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Competition-colonization trade-offs are theorized to be a mechanism of coexistence in communities structured by environmental fluctuations. But many studies that have tested for the trade-off have failed to detect it, likely because a spatiotemporally structured environment and many species assemblages are needed to adequately test for a competition-colonization trade-off. Here, we present a unique 32-year study of rock-dwelling lichens in New Mexico, USA, in which photographs were used to quantify lichen life history traits and interactions through time. These data allowed us to determine whether there were any trade-offs between traits associated with colonization and competition, as well as the relationship between diversity and disturbance in the community. We did not find evidence for a trade-off between competitive ability and colonization rate or any related life history traits. Interestingly, we did find a peak in all measures of species diversity at intermediate levels of disturbance, consistent with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis pattern. We suggest that the coexistence of the dominant species in this system is regulated by differences in persistence and growth rate mediating overgrowth competition rather than a competition-colonization trade-off.
    Ecology 02/2014; 95(2):306-15. · 5.18 Impact Factor