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Linking richness, community variability, and invasion resistance with patch size


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Dunstan, PK and Johnson, CR (2006) Linking richness, community variability, and invasion resistance with patch size. Ecology, 87 (11). pp. 2842-2850.

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The influence of community dynamics on the success or failure of an invasion is of considerable interest. What has not been explored is the influence of patch size on the outcomes of invasions for communities with the same species pool. Here we use an empirically validated spatial model of a marine epibenthic community to examine the effects of patch size on community variability, species richness, invasion, and the relationships between these variables. We found that the qualitative form of the relationship between community variability and species richness is determined by the size of the model patch. In small patches, variability decreases with species richness, but beyond a critical patch size, variability increases with increasing richness. This occurs because in large patches large, long-lived colonies attain sufficient size to minimize mortality and dominate the community, leading to decreased species richness and community variability. This mechanism cannot operate on smaller patches where the size of colonies is limited by the patch size and mortality is high irrespective of species identity. Further, invasion resistance is strongly correlated with community variability. Thus, the relationship between species richness and invasion resistance is also determined by patch size. These patterns are generated largely by an inverse relationship between colony size and mortality, and they depend on the spatial nature and patch size of the community. Our results suggest that a continuum of possible relationships can exist between species richness, community variability, invasion resistance, and area. These relationships are emergent behaviors generated by the individual properties of the particular component species of a community.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: invasions; marine benthic invertebrates; patch size; spatial model; species area; species richness; variability
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology
Page Range: pp. 2842-2850
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[2842:LRCVAI]2.0.CO;2
Additional Information: Copyright by the Ecological Society of America
Date Deposited: 18 May 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:16
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