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Coexistence of specialist and generalist species is shaped by dispersal and environmental factors

Coexistence of specialist and generalist species is shaped by dispersal and environmental factors

Büchi, Lucie ORCID: 0000-0002-1935-6176 and Vuilleumier, Séverine (2014) Coexistence of specialist and generalist species is shaped by dispersal and environmental factors. The American Naturalist, 183 (5). pp. 612-624. ISSN 0003-0147 (Print), 1537-5323 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1086/675756)

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Abstract

Disentangling the mechanisms mediating the coexistence of habitat specialists and generalists has been a long-standing subject of investigation. However, the roles of species traits and environmental and spatial factors have not been assessed in a unifying theoretical framework. Theory suggests that specialist species are more competitive in natural communities. However, empirical work has shown that specialist species are declining worldwide due to habitat loss and fragmentation. We addressed the question of the coexistence of specialist and generalist species with a spatially explicit metacommunity model in continuous and heterogeneous environments. We characterized how species' dispersal abilities, the number of interacting species, environmental spatial autocorrelation, and disturbance impact community composition. Our results demonstrated that species' dispersal ability and the number of interacting species had a drastic influence on the composition of metacommunities. More specialized species coexisted when species had large dispersal abilities and when the number of interacting species was high. Disturbance selected against highly specialized species, whereas environmental spatial autocorrelation had a marginal impact. Interestingly, species richness and niche breadth were mainly positively correlated at the community scale but were negatively correlated at the metacommunity scale. Numerous diversely specialized species can thus coexist, but both species' intrinsic traits and environmental factors interact to shape the specialization signatures of communities at both the local and global scales.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: specialization; spatial autocorrelation; disturbance; interspecific; competition; metacommunity; migration
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 15:00
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: GREAT a
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19194

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