Browsing by Subject "null models"

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  • Siqueira, Tadeu; Saito, Victor S.; Bini, Luis M.; Melo, Adriano S.; Petsch, Danielle K.; Landeiro, Victor L.; Tolonen, Kimmo T.; Jyrkänkallio-Mikkola, Jenny; Soininen, Janne; Heino, Jani (2020)
    Ecological drift can override the effects of deterministic niche selection on small populations and drive the assembly of some ecological communities. We tested this hypothesis with a unique data set sampled identically in 200 streams in two regions (tropical Brazil and boreal Finland) that differ in macroinvertebrate community size by fivefold. Null models allowed us to estimate the magnitude to which beta-diversity deviates from the expectation under a random assembly process while taking differences in richness and relative abundance into account, i.e., beta-deviation. We found that both abundance- and incidence-based beta-diversity was negatively related to community size only in Brazil. Also, beta-diversity of small tropical communities was closer to stochastic expectations compared with beta-diversity of large communities. We suggest that ecological drift may drive variation in some small communities by changing the expected outcome of niche selection, increasing the chances of species with low abundance and narrow distribution to occur in some communities. Habitat destruction, overexploitation, pollution, and reductions in connectivity have been reducing the size of biological communities. These environmental pressures might make smaller communities more vulnerable to novel conditions and render community dynamics more unpredictable. Incorporation of community size into ecological models should provide conceptual and applied insights into a better understanding of the processes driving biodiversity.
  • Vilmi, Annika; Gibert, Corentin; Escarguel, Gilles; Happonen, Konsta; Heino, Jani; Jamoneau, Aurelien; Passy, Sophia I.; Picazo, Felix; Soininen, Janne; Tison-Rosebery, Juliette; Wang, Jianjun (2021)
    Patterns in community composition are scale-dependent and generally difficult to distinguish. Therefore, quantifying the main assembly processes in various systems and across different datasets has remained challenging. Building on the PER-SIMPER method, we propose a new metric, the dispersal-niche continuum index (DNCI), which estimates whether dispersal or niche processes dominate community assembly and facilitates the comparisons of processes among datasets. The DNCI was tested for robustness using simulations and applied to observational datasets comprising organismal groups with different trophic level and dispersal potential. Based on the robustness tests, the DNCI discriminated the respective contribution of niche and dispersal processes in pairwise comparisons of site groups with less than 40% and 30% differences in their taxa and site numbers, respectively. In the observational datasets, the DNCI suggested that dispersal rather than niche assembly was the dominant assembly process which, however, varied in intensity among organismal groups and study contexts, including spatial scale and ecosystem types. The proposed DNCI measures the relative strength of community assembly processes in a way that is simple, easily quantifiable and comparable across datasets. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the DNCI and provide perspectives for future research.