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Intransitive competition is widespread in plant communities and maintains their species richness

  • Intransitive competition networks, those in which there is no single best competitor, may ensure species coexistence. However, their frequency and importance in maintaining diversity in real-world ecosystems remain unclear. We used two large data sets from drylands and agricultural grasslands to assess: (1) the generality of intransitive competition, (2) intransitivity-richness relationships and (3) effects of two major drivers of biodiversity loss (aridity and land-use intensification) on intransitivity and species richness. Intransitive competition occurred in >65% of sites and was associated with higher species richness. Intransitivity increased with aridity, partly buffering its negative effects on diversity, but was decreased by intensive land use, enhancing its negative effects on diversity. These contrasting responses likely arise because intransitivity is promoted by temporal heterogeneity, which is enhanced by aridity but may decline with land-use intensity. We show that intransitivity is widespread in nature and increasesIntransitive competition networks, those in which there is no single best competitor, may ensure species coexistence. However, their frequency and importance in maintaining diversity in real-world ecosystems remain unclear. We used two large data sets from drylands and agricultural grasslands to assess: (1) the generality of intransitive competition, (2) intransitivity-richness relationships and (3) effects of two major drivers of biodiversity loss (aridity and land-use intensification) on intransitivity and species richness. Intransitive competition occurred in >65% of sites and was associated with higher species richness. Intransitivity increased with aridity, partly buffering its negative effects on diversity, but was decreased by intensive land use, enhancing its negative effects on diversity. These contrasting responses likely arise because intransitivity is promoted by temporal heterogeneity, which is enhanced by aridity but may decline with land-use intensity. We show that intransitivity is widespread in nature and increases diversity, but it can be lost with environmental homogenisation.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Santiago Soliveres, Fernando T. Maestre, Werner Ulrich, Peter Manning, Steffen Boch, Matthew A. Bowker, Daniel Prati, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Jose L. Quero, Ingo Schöning, Antonio Gallardo, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Jörg Müller, Stephanie A. Socher, Miguel Garcia-Gomez, Victoria Ochoa, Ernst-Detlef Schulze, Markus Fischer, Eric Allan
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12456
ISSN:1461-023X (print)
ISSN:1461-0248 (online)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=26032242
Parent Title (English):Ecology letters
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication:Hoboken
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Aridity; biodiversity; coexistence; drylands; land use; mesic grasslands; rock-paper-scissors game
Volume:18
Issue:8
Pagenumber:9
First Page:790
Last Page:798
Funder:[DFG-FI1246/6-1, DFG-FI1246/9-1]; BIOCOM project; European Research Council under the European Community [242658]; Polish National Science Centre [2014/13/B/NZ8/04681]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert