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|Title:||Metacommunity size influences aquatic community composition in a natural mesocosm landscape|
|Author:||Lecraw, Robin M.|
Srivastava, Diana S.
Romero, Gustavo Q.
|Abstract:||Ecosystems are often arranged in naturally patchy landscapes with habitat patches linked by dispersal of species in a metacommunity. The size of a metacommunity, or number of patches, is predicted to influence community dynamics and therefore the structure and function of local communities. However, such predictions have yet to be experimentally tested using full food webs in natural metacommunities. We used the natural mesocosm system of aquatic macroinvertebrates in bromeliad phytotelmata to test the effect of the number of patches in a metacommunity on species richness, abundance, and community composition. We created metacommunities of varying size using fine mesh cages to enclose a gradient from a single bromeliad up to the full forest. We found that species richness, abundance, and biomass increased from enclosed metacommunities to the full forest size and that diversity and evenness also increased in larger enclosures. Community composition was affected by metacommunity size across the full gradient, with a more even detritivore community in larger metacommunities, and taxonomic groups such as mosquitoes going locally extinct in smaller metacommunities. We were able to divide the effects of metacommunity size into aquatic and terrestrial habitat components and found that the importance of each varied by species; those with simple life cycles were only affected by local aquatic habitat whereas insects with complex life cycles were also affected by the amount of terrestrial matrix. This differential survival of obligate and non-obligate dispersers allowed us to partition the beta-diversity between metacommunities among functional groups. Our study is one of the first tests of metacommunity size in a natural metacommunity landscape and shows that both diversity and community composition are significantly affected by metacommunity size. Synthesis Natural food webs are sensitive to meta-community size, i.e. the number of patches connected through dispersal. We provide an empirical test using the aquatic foodweb associated within bromeliads as a model system. When we reduced the number of bromeliad patches connect through dispersal, we found a clear change of the foodweb in terms of population sizes, beta diversity, community composition and predator-prey ratios. The response of individual taxa was predictable based on species traits including dispersal modes, life cycle, and adult resource requirements. Our study demonstrates that community structure is strongly influenced by the interplay of species traits and landscape properties. © 2014 The Authors.|
Ecosystems are often arranged in naturally patchy landscapes with habitat patches linked by dispersal of species in a metacommunity. The size of a metacommunity, or number of patches, is predicted to influence community dynamics and therefore the structur
Cadeias alimentares (Ecologia)
Diversidade de espécies
|Citation:||Oikos. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, v. 123, n. 8, p. 903 - 911, 2014.|
|Appears in Collections:||IB - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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