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Competition coefficients in a marine epibenthic assemblage depend on spatial structure


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Dunstan, PK and Johnson, CR 2003 , 'Competition coefficients in a marine epibenthic assemblage depend on spatial structure' , Oikos, vol. 100, no. 1 , pp. 79-88 , doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.11462.x.

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We investigated the importance of the spatial context of interactions in a multispecies
marine epibenthic assemblage with respect to the outcomes of interspecific interactions,
neighbour-specific growth rates, and the dynamics of spatial and mean-field
models of the system. We compared the outcomes of interactions and overgrowth
rates of pair-wise combinations of species in spatially simplified contrived interactions
with the same combinations in an unmanipulated assemblage. While estimates of
neighbour-specific growth rates were similar in both sets of interactions, the probability
of a species winning a particular interaction was strongly dependent on whether
the interaction was contrived or occurred in the unmanipulated assemblage. The
dynamics of a spatial model and its mean-field equivalent parameterised from
estimates of interaction outcome and neighbour-specific growth from contrived
interactions were significantly different to the dynamics of models based on estimates
of interaction outcome and neighbour-specific growth obtained from non-manipulated
assemblages. Differences in the dynamics of models based on parameters from
unmanipulated and contrived interactions are primarily due to differences in outcomes
of interspecific interactions, while fluctuations in growth rates contribute to the
variability around these dynamics. Our results suggest that conclusions about interspecific
interactions and community dynamics examined in simplified spatial associations
(e.g. in manipulative experiments) is likely to be limited to assemblages with a
similarly simplified spatial structure, which is an unlikely occurrence in nature.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Dunstan, PK and Johnson, CR
Keywords: community dynamics; growth rate; interspecific competition; interspecific interaction; spatial analysis
Journal or Publication Title: Oikos
ISSN: 0030-1299
DOI / ID Number: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.11462.x
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