Ecological Research

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 623–631 | Cite as

Integrating internal and external dispersal in metacommunity assembly: preliminary theoretical analyses

Miyadi Award


Internal dispersal, which occurs among local communities within a metacommunity, and external dispersal, which supplies immigrants from outside the metacommunity, can both have a major impact on species diversity. However, few studies have considered the two simultaneously. Here I report preliminary computer-simulation results to suggest that internal and external dispersal can interact to influence species richness. Specifically, the results show that internal dispersal did not affect species richness under frequent external dispersal, whereas it enhanced richness in local communities while decreasing richness in metacommunities under infrequent external dispersal. Conversely, external dispersal influenced species richness in local communities more greatly in the absence of internal dispersal than in its presence, while external dispersal did not affect richness in metacommunities regardless of internal dispersal. Furthermore, internal and external dispersal interactively determined the importance of community assembly history in generating and maintaining variation in local community structure. Overall, these results suggest that the two dispersal types can reciprocally provide the context in which each affects species diversity and therefore that their effects cannot be understood in isolation of the other.


Community assembly Food web Invasion resistance Species coexistence Species richness 

Supplementary material

11284_2005_92_ESM_supp.pdf (1.3 mb)
(PDF 1.2 MB)


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Landcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  3. 3.Laboratory of Biodiversity Science, School of Agricultural and Life SciencesUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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