Browsing by Subject "beta diversity"

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  • Agra, Janaina; Ligeiro, Raphael; Heino, Jani; Macedo, Diego R.; Castro, Diego M.P.; Linares, Marden S.; Callisto, Marcos (Elsevier Science Ireland, 2021)
    Ecological indicators 121, 107079
    The effects of anthropogenic disturbance on multiple facets of biodiversity are poorly understood. In this study, we worked with the hypothesis that anthropogenic disturbances affect the relationship between environmental heterogeneity (EH) and biodiversity. We used a model selection approach to test three predictions. P1: The greater the level of anthropogenic disturbance, the weaker will be the relationship between EH and both taxonomic and functional alpha diversities. P2: The sign and strength of correlations between EH metrics and both taxonomic and functional alpha diversities will depend on the level of anthropogenic disturbance. P3: Taxonomic and functional beta diversities will not respond to the EH gradient. We sampled 76 stream sites in the Brazilian Neotropical savanna and collected insect of the orders Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera to measure taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversities. For P1, we did not find a trend of decreasing strength of this relationship with increasing disturbance. Results confirmed P2. Spatial flow diversity was positively correlated to taxonomic and functional alpha diversities in least-disturbed sites. Bankfull height variation was negatively correlated to taxonomic and functional alpha diversities in moderately-disturbed sites. Thalweg depth variation was positively correlated to taxonomic and functional alpha diversities in most-disturbed sites. Results partially confirmed P3 because taxonomic and functional beta diversities correlated with EH metrics in most-disturbed sites. We conclude that the biodiversity-EH relationship is not the same at all levels of anthropogenic disturbance, a finding that has implications for biomonitoring and ecosystem management.
  • Langenheder, Silke; Wang, Jianjun; Karjalainen, Satu Maaria; Laamanen, Tiina M.; Tolonen, Kimmo T.; Vilmi, Annika; Heino, Jani (2017)
    The spatial structure and underlying assembly mechanisms of bacterial communities have been studied widely across aquatic systems, focusing primarily on isolated sites, such as different lakes, ponds and streams. Here, our main aim was to determine the underlying mechanisms for bacterial biofilm assembly within a large, highly connected lake system in Northern Finland using associative methods based on taxonomic and phylogenetic alpha-and beta-diversity and a large number of abiotic and biotic variables. Furthermore, null model approaches were used to quantify the relative importance of different community assembly processes. We found that spatial variation in bacterial communities within the lake was structured by different assembly processes, including stochasticity, species sorting and potentially even dispersal limitation. Species sorting by abiotic environmental conditions explained more of the taxonomic and particularly phylogenetic turnover in community composition compared with that by biotic variables. Finally, we observed clear differences in alpha diversity (species richness and phylogenetic diversity), which were to a stronger extent determined by abiotic compared with biotic factors, but also by dispersal effects. In summary, our study shows that the biodiversity of bacterial biofilm communities within a lake ecosystem is driven by within-habitat gradients in abiotic conditions and by stochastic and deterministic dispersal processes.
  • Virta, Leena; Soininen, Janne; Norkko, Alf (2020)
    Aim Global biodiversity loss has raised interest in understanding variation in diversity at different scales. In particular, studies conducted across large spatial gradients are crucial, because they can increase perspectives on how ecological patterns change relative to environmental factors and facilitate predictions of possible responses to environmental change. We explored the full extent of a brackish sea to test the hypotheses that: (a) benthic communities are defined by the limited ranges of species, controlled by varying drivers along a large environmental gradient; (b) the responses of taxonomic and functional community composition and turnover to the environmental gradient are different, thus highlighting the need to include both measures in ecological studies; and (c) diversity reaches the minimum at intermediate salinities (Remane curve) owing to the low adaptation of freshwater and marine species. Location A large environmental and spatial gradient spanning the entire Swedish coastline (c. 2,300 km; salinity 1.2-27.6), the Baltic Sea. Time period August 2018. Major taxa studied Benthic diatoms. Methods We assessed environmental drivers for the communities and calculated the taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversity along the gradient. We also compared the taxonomic and functional composition and diversity of communities among areas with different salinity. Results We found support for the hypothesis of limited species ranges, because taxonomic beta diversity, mainly induced by changes in salinity and climate, was high, whereas functional beta diversity remained considerably lower, and the composition and diversity of communities, in addition to environmental drivers controlling the communities, differed between regions with different salinity. The lowest taxonomic diversity was found at intermediate salinities of 5-6. Main conclusions These findings advance understanding of large-scale patterns of benthic diversity, emphasize the importance of large gradient studies for a better understanding of general ecological patterns and highlight the vulnerability of brackish water ecosystems as ecologically important tipping-point realms.
  • Gavioli, Anna; Milardi, Marco; Castaldelli, Giuseppe; Fano, Elisa Anna; Soininen, Janne (2019)
    Aim Exotic species are a major threat to biodiversity and have modified native communities worldwide. Invasion processes have been extensively studied, but studies on species richness and beta diversity patterns of exotic and native species are rare. We investigate such patterns among exotic and native fish communities in upland and lowland rivers to explore their relationship with environmental drivers. Location Northern Italy. Methods Exotic and native fish beta diversity patterns were investigated separately in lowland and upland sites using Local Contribution to Beta Diversity (LCBD) and Species Contribution to Beta Diversity (SCBD) analyses. To examine the main environmental variables affecting the LCBD, a Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) method was used. Community dispersion among and within stream orders was investigated with the PERMDISP test. Results In lowland sites, exotic species richness was higher than native species richness, especially in large rivers and drainage canals. An opposite trend was found in upland sites, where native species richness was higher than exotic species richness, especially in large rivers. No clear LCBD patterns were found along stream orders in the lowland, whereas higher stream orders in the upland showed the highest LCBD. Its patterns in upland and lowland sites were related to a number of factors, such as total suspended solids and total phosphorus. Community dispersion among stream orders did not show a relationship with environmental heterogeneity. SCBD values were positively correlated with species occupancy in the study area, and native species showed higher SCBD values than exotic species only in the uplands. Main conclusions Large rivers in the uplands are important in maintaining native fish diversity and should be protected against invasive fish. In contrast, most lowland rivers have suffered from biological homogenization. Some rare native species can show low contribution to beta diversity, but still need conservation actions due to their risk of local extinction.
  • Ordynets, Alexander; Heilmann-Clausen, Jacob; Savchenko, Anton; Baessler, Claus; Volobuev, Sergey; Akulov, Olexander; Karadelev, Mitko; Kotiranta, Heikki; Saitta, Alessandro; Langer, Ewald; Abrego, Nerea (2018)
    Aim: Aphyllophoroid fungi are associated with plants, either using plants as a resource (as parasites or decomposers) or as symbionts (as mycorrhizal partners). In spite of their strong association with plants, it is unknown how much plant distributions determine their biogeographical patterns compared with environmental factors such as climate and human land use. In this study, our aims are to (1) describe the spatial diversity patterns of aphyllophoroid fungi in Europe and (2) identify the factors shaping these patterns. Location: Europe, as well as the adjacent Subarctic to Arctic islands (Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Svalbard), Palestine and the south-east coast of the Caspian Sea. Methods: We compiled a dataset consisting of 14,030 fruitbody occurrences of 1,491 aphyllophoroid fungal species from 39 geographical areas (17 countries) belonging to eight biogeographical regions. We assessed the differences in fungal species richness and overall diversity and its nestedness and turnover components across biogeographical regions of Europe, as well as between southern and northern Europe (based on geographical latitude of 50 degrees as threshold). We used cluster and ordination analyses to classify the European aphyllophoroid communities biogeographically and evaluated the importance of climate, host-tree species, topography and human land-use intensity in explaining biogeographical variation. Results: The importance of biogeographical regions in determining European aphyllophoroid fungal communities varies for different diversity components. Species richness and nestedness are best explained by plant-based biogeographical regions, whereas overall beta diversity and species turnover are driven mostly by variation in climate, and nestedness mostly by tree species occupancy. Beta-diversity patterns of aphyllophoroid fungi do not differ between southern and northern Europe. Main conclusions: At the continental scale, aphyllophoroid fungi are less shaped by historical legacies than vascular plant and animal communities, and trends of overall beta diversity in southern and northern Europe are similar to patterns found for bryophytes.
  • Teittinen, Anette; Virta, Leena (2021)
    Biodiversity has traditionally been quantified using taxonomic information but the importance of also considering its functional characteristics has recently gained an increasing attention among microorganisms. However, studies exploring multiple aspects of taxonomic and functional diversity and their temporal variations are scarce for diatoms, which is one of the most important microbial groups in aquatic ecosystems. Here, our aim was to examine the taxonomic and functional alpha and beta diversities of diatoms in a coastal rock pool system characterized by a naturally high environmental heterogeneity. We also investigated the temporal differences in the diversity patterns and drivers. The relationship between the species richness and functional dispersion was temporally coherent, such that species-poor communities tended to be functionally clustered. The trend between the species richness and taxonomic uniqueness of community composition was temporally inconsistent, changing from negative to non-significant over time. Conductivity or distance to the sea or both were key determinants of species richness, functional dispersion, and uniqueness of community composition. The increase of community dissimilarity with an increasing environmental distance was stronger for the taxonomic than the functional composition. Our results suggest that even minor decreases in the species richness may result in a lowered functional diversity and decreased ecosystem functioning. Species-poor ecosystems may, however, have unique species compositions and high contributions to regional biodiversity. Despite changing the species compositions along the environmental gradients, communities may remain to have a high functional similarity and robustness in the face of environmental changes. Our results highlight the advantage of considering multiple biodiversity metrics and incorporating a temporal component for a deeper understanding of the effects of environmental changes on microbial biodiversity.
  • Teittinen, Anette; Virta, Leena; Li, Mingjia; Wang, Jianjun (2021)
    Islands provide ideal model systems to examine the factors influencing biodiversity, yet knowledge of microbial biodiversity on islands remains scarce. We collected a dataset from 101 rock pools along a freshwater to brackish water transition on islands of the Baltic Sea and investigated the patterns and drivers of community composition and species richness of diatoms, cyanobacteria and non-cyanobacteria bacteria among islands. We also examined whether environmental heterogeneity increased beta diversity and species richness within islands. Among islands, the patterns in community composition were concordant among the microbial groups, with distinct changes along the freshwater-brackish gradient. The patterns in species richness were context-dependent for each microbial group. In general, richness patterns were most strongly associated with nutrient concentrations or the distances to potential sources of immigrants, whereas no positive relationships between ecosystem size and richness were found. Within islands, environmental heterogeneity was positively correlated with the beta diversity of each microbial group, but not species richness. Our findings provide novel insights into the factors influencing microbial biodiversity. The results suggest that island microbial biodiversity patterns are influenced by species sorting and dispersal-related mechanisms and highlight the importance of environmental heterogeneity for beta diversity.
  • Mammola, Stefano; Cardoso, Pedro (2020)
    The use ofn-dimensional hypervolumes in trait-based ecology is rapidly increasing. By representing the functional space of a species or community as a Hutchinsonian niche, the abstract Euclidean space defined by a set of independent axes corresponding to individuals or species traits, these multidimensional techniques show great potential for the advance of functional ecology theory. In the panorama of existing methods for delineating multidimensional spaces, therpackagehypervolume(Global Ecology and Biogeography, 23, 2014, 595-609) is currently the most used. However, functions for calculating the standard set of functional diversity (FD) indices-richness, divergence and regularity-have not been developed within thehypervolumeframework yet. This gap is delaying its full exploitation in functional ecology, meanwhile preventing the possibility to compare its performance with that of other methods. We develop a set of functions to calculate FD indices based onn-dimensional hypervolumes, including alpha (richness), beta (and respective components), dispersion, evenness, contribution and originality. Altogether, these indices provide a coherent framework to explore the primary mathematical components of FD within a multidimensional setting. These new functions can work either with hypervolume objects or with raw data (species presence or abundance and their traits) as input data, and are versatile in terms of input parameters and options. These functions are implemented withinbat(Biodiversity Assessment Tools), anrpackage for biodiversity assessments. As a coherent corpus of functional indices based on a common algorithm, it opens the possibility to fully explore the strengths of the Hutchinsonian niche concept in community ecology research.
  • Gladstone-Gallagher, Rebecca V.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.; Brustolin, Marco C.; Villnäs, Anna; Valanko, Sebastian; Norkko, Alf (2021)
    Despite a long history of disturbance–recovery research, we still lack a generalizable understanding of the attributes that drive community recovery potential in seafloor ecosystems. Marine soft‐sediment ecosystems encompass a range of heterogeneity from simple low‐diversity habitats with limited biogenic structure, to species‐rich systems with complex biogenic habitat structure. These differences in biological heterogeneity are a product of natural conditions and disturbance regimes. To search for unifying attributes, we explore whether a set of simple traits can characterize community disturbance–recovery potential using seafloor patch‐disturbance experiments conducted in two different soft‐sediment landscapes. The two landscapes represent two ends of a spectrum of landscape biotic heterogeneity in order to consider multi‐scale disturbance–recovery processes. We consider traits at different levels of biological organization, from the biological traits of individual species, to the traits of species at the landscape scale associated with their occurrence across the landscape and their ability to be dominant. We show that in a biotically heterogeneous landscape (Kawau Bay, New Zealand), seafloor community recovery is stochastic, there is high species turnover, and the landscape‐scale traits are good predictors of recovery. In contrast, in a biotically homogeneous landscape (Baltic Sea), the options for recovery are constrained, the recovery pathway is thus more deterministic and the scale of recovery traits important for determining recovery switches to the individual species biological traits within the disturbed patch. Our results imply that these simple, yet sophisticated, traits can be effectively used to characterize community recovery potential and highlight the role of landscapes in providing resilience to patch‐scale disturbances.
  • Teittinen, Anette; Wang, Jianjun; Stromgard, Simon; Soininen, Janne (2017)
    Aim: Elevational biodiversity patterns are understudied in high-latitude aquatic systems, even though these systems are important for detecting very early impacts of climatic changes on Earth. The aim of this study was to examine the elevational trends in species richness and local contribution to beta diversity (LCBD) of three biofilm microbial groups in freshwater ponds and to identify the key mechanisms underlying these patterns. Location: One hundred and forty-six ponds in subarctic Finland and Norway distributed across the tree line along an elevational gradient of 10-1,038 m a.s.l., spanning from forested landscape to barren boulder fields. Time period: July-August 2015. Major taxa studied: Diatoms, cyanobacteria and non-cyanobacteria. Methods: Generalized linear models were used to identify the most important pond variables explaining richness and LCBD. Structural equation models were used to explore the direct and indirect effects of multiscale drivers on richness and LCBD. Results: Diatom and cyanobacteria richness showed unimodal elevational patterns, whereas non-cyanobacteria richness decreased with increasing elevation. The LCBD-elevation relationship was U-shaped for all three microbial groups. Diatom and cyanobacteria richness and LCBD were best explained by local pond variables, especially by pH. Non-cyanobacteria richness and LCBD were related to pond variables, elevation as a proxy for climatic conditions, and normalized difference vegetation index as a proxy for terrestrial productivity. Main conclusions: Aquatic autotrophs were primarily controlled by environmental filtering, whereas heterotrophic bacteria were also affected by terrestrial productivity and elevation. All studied aspects of microbial diversity were directly or indirectly linked to elevation; therefore, climatic changes may greatly alter aquatic microbial assemblages.
  • Lindholm, Marja; Alahuhta, Janne; Heino, Jani; Toivonen, Heikki (Wiley Online Library, 2020)
    Ecography 43 2 (2020)
    It has been predicted that spatial beta diversity shows a decreasing trend in the Anthropocene due to increasing human impact, causing biotic homogenisation. We aimed to discover if vascular aquatic macrophyte communities show different spatial patterns in beta diversity in relation to land use and environmental characteristics in different decades from 1940s to 2010s. We aimed to discover if spatial structures differ between species-, phylogeny- and functional-based beta diversity. We used presence–absence data of aquatic macrophytes from five decades from small boreal lakes. We utilized generalised dissimilarity modelling to analyse spatial patterns in beta diversity in relation to environmental gradients. We found that lake elevation and pH were the most important variables in each decade, while land use was not particularly important in shaping beta diversity patterns. We did not find signs of a decreasing trend in spatial beta diversity in our study area during the past 70 yr. We did not find signs of either biotic homogenisation or biotic differentiation (taxonomic, phylogenetic or functional). Vascular aquatic macrophyte communities showed only slightly different beta diversity patterns in relation to human impact across decades. The patterns of different facets of beta diversity diverged only slightly from each other. Lake position in the landscape, reflecting both natural connectivity and lake characteristics, explained the patterns found in beta diversity, probably because our study area has faced only modest changes in land use from 1940s to 2010s when compared globally. Our study highlights the fact that biotic homogenisation is not an unambiguous process acting similarly at all spatial and temporal scales or in different environments and different organism groups.
  • Hewitt, Judi E.; Norkko, Joanna; Kauppi, Laura; Villnäs, Anna; Norkko, Alf (2016)
    While beta diversity has been implicated as a key factor in controlling resilience of communities to stressors, lack of long-term data sets has limited the study of temporal dynamics of beta diversity. With a time series at two sites in excess of 40yr, we investigated turnover of both species and functional traits in a system stressed by eutrophication and overfishing and undergoing climate change and invasion. The two sites, although located near to each other, differ in water depth (20 cf. 35m), but both sites have displayed increased abundances of an invasive polychaete since 1990. We tested two hypotheses related to the effect of an invasive species; that taxa richness and turnover would decrease, and trait richness would increase post invasion and that trait turnover would increase between arrival and establishment of the invasive. Generally, we observed different dynamics at the two sites and responses not consistent with our hypotheses. We detected an increase in taxa richness at both sites and an increase in taxa turnover and number of traits at one site only. Trait turnover was higher prior to the invasion, although again only at one site. Disjunctive responses between species and trait turnover occurred, with the invader contributing in a nonrandom fashion to trait turnover. The lack of strong, consistent responses to the arrival and establishment of the invasive, and the decrease in trait turnover, suggests that effects of invasives are not only system- and species-dependent, but also depend on community dynamics of the invaded site, in particular the assembly processes, and historical context.
  • Kaarlejarvi, Elina; Salemaa, Maija; Tonteri, Tiina; Merila, Paivi; Laine, Anna-Liisa (2021)
    Aim The diversity and composition of natural communities are rapidly changing due to anthropogenic disturbances. Magnitude of this compositional reorganization varies across the globe, but reasons behind the variation remain largely unknown. Disturbances induce temporal turnover by stimulating species colonizations, causing local extinctions, altering dominance structure, or all of these. We test which of these processes drive temporal community changes, and whether they are constrained by natural environmental gradients. Moreover, we assess to what degree identity shifts translate to changes in dominance structure. Location Finland. Time period Observations 1985-2006, disturbance history > 140 years. Major taxa studied Vascular plants. Methods We investigated temporal turnover of boreal forest understorey in response to disturbance, here forest management, along a soil fertility gradient. We disentangle the roles of species gains, losses and abundance changes in driving temporal turnover in response to and after disturbance by comparing turnover rates in different forest age categories along a fertility gradient. We quantify temporal turnover using richness-based complement of Jaccard's similarity index and proportional-abundance based dissimilarity index. We also test whether disturbance history or fertility influence the relationship between identity shifts and dominance structure. Results We found that the impact of disturbance on temporal turnover depends on soil fertility. The greatest turnover occurred in the most fertile forests immediately after disturbance. There, species gains and losses strongly altered dominance structure leading to high turnover, whereas undisturbed old forests and nutrient-poor habitats were characterized by stable dominant species even when the majority of species shifted their identity. Main conclusions Our results suggest that human impacts on temporal biodiversity change vary along environmental gradients. In boreal forests, the fertile habitats have a higher probability than nutrient-poor sites of changing their composition in response to anthropogenic disturbances. Resource availability and disturbance history may thus influence consequences of temporal turnover for ecosystem functioning.
  • Thakur, Madhav P.; Phillips, Helen R. P.; Brose, Ulrich; De Vries, Franciska T.; Lavelle, Patrick; Loreau, Michel; Mathieu, Jerome; Mulder, Christian; Van der Putten, Wim H.; Rillig, Matthias C.; Wardle, David A.; Bach, Elizabeth M.; Bartz, Marie L. C.; Bennett, Joanne M.; Briones, Maria J. I.; Brown, George; Decaëns, Thibaud; Eisenhauer, Nico; Ferlian, Olga; Guerra, Carlos António; König-Ries, Birgitta; Orgiazzi, Alberto; Ramirez, Kelly S.; Russell, David J.; Rutgers, Michiel; Wall, Diana H.; Cameron, Erin K. (2020)
    Soil is one of the most biodiverse terrestrial habitats. Yet, we lack an integrative conceptual framework for understanding the patterns and mechanisms driving soil biodiversity. One of the underlying reasons for our poor understanding of soil biodiversity patterns relates to whether key biodiversity theories (historically developed for aboveground and aquatic organisms) are applicable to patterns of soil biodiversity. Here, we present a systematic literature review to investigate whether and how key biodiversity theories (species-energy relationship, theory of island biogeography, metacommunity theory, niche theory and neutral theory) can explain observed patterns of soil biodiversity. We then discuss two spatial compartments nested within soil at which biodiversity theories can be applied to acknowledge the scale-dependent nature of soil biodiversity.
  • Serra Dominguez, Lluis (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Beta diversity (total dissimilarity) can be partitioned into two components: dissimilarity attributed to turnover and nestedness-resultant dissimilarity. Turnover refers to the variation in species identities among sites and implies the replacement of some species by others. In contrast, nestedness occurs when species-poor sites have a subset of the biota present in species-richer sites. Although disentangling the relative contribution of these two antithetic components from beta diversity can characterize species assemblages, the dissimilarity indices do not provide information on the processes generating the patterns. Conversely, Hierarchical Modelling of Species Communities (HMSC), which unifies many of the recent advantages of Joint Species Distribution Models, has proved to be the one of the best performing frameworks for unravelling the underlying mechanisms structuring ecological communities. The aim of this research is to explore the relationship between the outputs of the HMSC model and the dissimilarity indices in different communities with a wide range of parameterizations. As the observed patterns measured by the beta-diversity indices result from the underlying processes which HMSC attempts to capture, I hypothesized that both frameworks are at least partially linked to each other. To achieve this aim, I simulated the community data by following the structure of the HMSC model. For simplicity, only one environmental covariate was considered, which was scaled to 0 mean. The intercept of the HMSC model accounted for the baseline occurrence probability of the species, while the slope modeled the species responses to the environmental covariate. The HMSC-intercept and the HMSC-slope, which represent the species multivariate niches, were summarized in terms of center and spread. Simultaneously, the beta diversity indices (total, turnover and nestedness dissimilarity) were calculated from the community data. Finally, the outputs of both frameworks were related in terms of linear modelling and variation partitioning. As hypothesized, the results of this study suggest that outputs of the HMSC model are able to explain most of the variation in the beta-diversity indices, indicating that both frameworks are strongly related. By plotting the species niches (intercept and slope coefficients of the HMSC model) it is possible to determine the main axes of niche variation producing the nestedness and turnover patterns. While nestedness is generated by a shared response of the species to the environmental covariate(s), turnover is produced by variation in the species responses. Finally, the total dissimilarity index is driven by species rarity. In conclusion, the most comprehensive evaluation of the structure of ecological communities and the processes determining the diversity patterns can be achieved by combining the outputs of beta-diversity indices and the HMSC model.
  • Ovaskainen, Otso; Rybicki, Joel; Abrego, Nerea (2019)
    A key challenge for community ecology is to understand to what extent observational data can be used to infer the underlying community assembly processes. As different processes can lead to similar or even identical patterns, statistical analyses of non-manipulative observational data never yield undisputable causal inference on the underlying processes. Still, most empirical studies in community ecology are based on observational data, and hence understanding under which circumstances such data can shed light on assembly processes is a central concern for community ecologists. We simulated a spatial agent-based model that generates variation in metacommunity dynamics across multiple axes, including the four classic metacommunity paradigms as special cases. We further simulated a virtual ecologist who analysed snapshot data sampled from the simulations using eighteen output metrics derived from beta-diversity and habitat variation indices, variation partitioning and joint species distribution modelling. Our results indicated two main axes of variation in the output metrics. The first axis of variation described whether the landscape has patchy or continuous variation, and thus was essentially independent of the properties of the species community. The second axis of variation related to the level of predictability of the metacommunity. The most predictable communities were niche-based metacommunities inhabiting static landscapes with marked environmental heterogeneity, such as metacommunities following the species sorting paradigm or the mass effects paradigm. The most unpredictable communities were neutral-based metacommunities inhabiting dynamics landscapes with little spatial heterogeneity, such as metacommunities following the neutral or patch sorting paradigms. The output metrics from joint species distribution modelling yielded generally the highest resolution to disentangle among the simulated scenarios. Yet, the different types of statistical approaches utilized in this study carried complementary information, and thus our results suggest that the most comprehensive evaluation of metacommunity structure can be obtained by combining them.