Affordable Access

Open systems in community ecology : dispersal, diversity, and ecosystem properties

Authors
Publisher
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

A large fraction of community ecology has focused on processes that operate within communities to control species richness; however, most natural localities are open to dispersal. Dispersal can mediate community structure and functioning by introducing novel species and promoting coexistence at multiple spatial scales. Using experiments, I tested the effects of dispersal in complex, multi-trophic communities. Results suggest that dispersal of novel species is an important determinant of species richness, community composition and ecosystem properties across a range of environmental conditions. Dispersal also promoted coexistence in a network of communities with different environmental conditions, possibly by subsidizing failing populations with individuals of successful populations. Together, these results broaden our understanding of community and ecosystem-level effects of dispersal beyond terrestrial plant communities and highlight mechanisms of coexistence that may be unique to mobile animals.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.