, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 137-147
Date: 19 Jun 2004

Community assembly along a species pool gradient: implications for multiple-scale patterns of species diversity

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Various ecological processes influence patterns of species diversity at multiple spatial scales. One process that is potentially important but rarely considered is community assembly. I assembled model communities using species pools of differing size to examine how the history of community assembly may affect multi-scale diversity patterns. The model contained three scales at which diversity could be measured: local community, metacommunity, and species pool. Local species saturation occurred, as expected from the competition and predation built in the model. However, local communities did not become resistant to invasions except when the species pool was very small. Depending on dispersal rate and trophic level, the larger the species pool, the harder it was to predict which species invades which local community at a given time. Consequently, local-community dissimilarity maintained by assembly history increased linearly with pool size, even though local diversity was decoupled from pool size. These results have two implications for multi-scale diversity patterns. First, assembly history may provide an explanation for scale-dependent relationships between local and regional diversity: assembly causes the relationship to be curvilinear at one scale (local community), while linear at another (metacommunity). Second, assembly history influences how γ-diversity is partitioned into α- and β-diversity: assembly causes the relative contribution of β to increase with pool size. Overall, this study suggests that community assembly history interacts with species pool size to regulate multi-scale patterns of species diversity.