, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 29–38 | Cite as

Resource heterogeneity and community structure: A case study inHeliconia imbricata Phytotelmata

  • Shahid Naeem
Original Papers


Complex or non-additive differences in the distribution and abundance of arthropod species inhabiting the water-filled bracts ofHeliconia imbricata can be created by simple manipulations of resource levels. The primary resources for these assemblages are the corollas of the flowers that accumulate in the bracts. Removing or adding corollas to individual bracts changes the pattern in the abundance of arthropod species within each bract such that bracts with different treatments ultimately differ in composition and numerical associations among species. These results suggest that direct and indirect resource-mediated factors can structure or significantly affect the distribution and abundance of species in these and perhaps other assemblages. Thus, in natural communities, if resources are heterogeneous among patches (such as among the bracts in this study) structure in a given patch may be a function of the resource level of that patch and can differ significantly from neighboring patches that provide different resource levels.

Key words

Community ecology Heliconia imbricata Phytotelmata Resource heterogeneity Arthropods 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abramsky Z, Bowers MA, Rosenzweig ML (1986) Detecting interspecific competition in the field: testing the regression method. Oikos 47: 199–204Google Scholar
  2. Atkinson D, Shorrocks B (1981) Competition on a divided and ephemeral resource: a simulation model. J Anim Ecol 50: 461–471Google Scholar
  3. Bender EA, Case TJ, Gilpin ME (1984) Perturbation experiments in community ecology: theory and practice. Ecology 65: 1–13Google Scholar
  4. Bookstein F, Chernoff B, Elder R, Humphries J, Smith G, Strauss R (1985) Morphometrics in evolutionary biology. Special publication 15, Academy of Natural Sciences, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  5. Bronstein J (1986) The origin of bract liquid in a neotropicalHeliconia species. Biotropica 18: 111–114Google Scholar
  6. Caswell H (1978) Predator-mediated coexistence: a nonequilibrium model. Am Nat 112: 127–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cherrill AJ, James R (1987) Character displacement inHydrobia. Oecologia 71: 618–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chesson PL (1986) Environmental variation and the coexistence of species. In: Diamond J, Case TJ (eds) Community Ecology. Harper and Row, New York, pp 240–256Google Scholar
  9. Colwell RK, Winkler DW (1984) A null model for null models in biogeography. In: Strong DR Jr, Simberloff D, Abele LG, Thistle AB (eds) Ecological communities: conceptual issues and the evidence. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 344–359Google Scholar
  10. Connell JH (1961) The influence of interspecific competition and other factors on the distribution of the barnacleChthalamus stellatus. Ecology 42: 710–723Google Scholar
  11. Connell JH (1983) On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecific competition: evidence from field experiments. Am Nat 122: 661–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coughtrey PJ, Jones CRH, Martin MH, Shales SW (1979) Litter accumulations in woodlands contaminated by Pb, Zn, Cd, and Cu. Oecologia 39: 51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crombie AC (1945) On competition between different species of graminivorous insects. Proc of the Royal Soc of London, B 132: 362–395Google Scholar
  14. Daniels GS, Stiles GF (1979) TheHeliconia taxa of Costa Rica. Keys and Descriptions. Brenesia 15: 1–150Google Scholar
  15. Diamond J, Case TJ (1986) Overview: introductions, extinctions, exterminations, and invasions. In: Diamond J, Case TJ (eds) Community Ecology. Harper and Row, New York, pp 65–79Google Scholar
  16. Digby PGN, Kempton RA (1987) Multivariate analysis of ecological communities. Chapman and Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Eberhardt LL (1970) Correlation, regression, and density dependence. Ecology 51: 306–310Google Scholar
  18. Edmondson WT (1970) Phosphorus, nitrogen, and algae in Lake Washington after diversion of sewage. Science 169: 690–691PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Edwards CA, Heath GW (1963) The role of soil organisms in the breakdown of leaf materials. In: Dockson J, Van der Drift J (eds) Soil organisms. North Holland, Amsterdam, pp 6–84Google Scholar
  20. Fenchel T (1975a) Factors determining the distribution patterns of mud snails (Hydrobiidae). Oecologia 20: 1–17Google Scholar
  21. Fenchel T (1975b) Character displacement and coexistence in mud snails. Oecologia 20: 19–32Google Scholar
  22. Fish D, Beaver RA (1978) A bibliography of aquatic fauna inhabiting bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) and pitcher plants (Nepenthaceae and Saraceniaceae). Proc of the 49th Florida Anti-mosquito Association pp 11–19Google Scholar
  23. Folt C, (1986) An experimental analysis of costs and benefits of zooplankton aggregation. In: Kerfoot CW, Sih A (eds) Predation: direct and indirect impacts on aquatic communities. University Press of New England. Hanover, pp 300–314Google Scholar
  24. Frank JH, Lounibos LP (1983) Phytotelmata. Plexus Publishing, MedfordGoogle Scholar
  25. Gause GF (1934) The struggle for existence. Williams and Wilkens, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  26. Grant PR (1986) Ecology and evolution of Darwin's finches. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  27. Hassall M, Turner JG, Rands MRW (1987) Effects of terrestrial isopods on the decomposition of woodland leaf litter. Oecologia (Berlin) 72: 597–604CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Holt RD (1977) Predation, apparent competition and the structure of prey communities. Theor Pop Biol 12: 197–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Holt RD (1984) Spatial heterogeneity, indirect interactions, and the coexistence of prey species. Am Nat 124: 377–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huffaker CB (1958) Experimental studies on predation: dispersion factors and predator-prey oscillation. Hilgardia 27: 343–383Google Scholar
  31. Hutchinson GE (1961) The paradox of the plankton. Am Nat 95: 137–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jeffries MJ, Lawton JH (1984) Enemy-free space and the structure of ecological communities. Biol J Linn Soc 23: 269–286Google Scholar
  33. Kikkawa J, Anderson DJ (1986) Community Ecology: Pattern and process. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  34. Kitching RL (1987) Spatial and temporal variation in food webs in water-filled treeholes. Oikos 48: 280–288Google Scholar
  35. Levins R (1968) Evolution in changing environments. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  36. Levins R (1979) Coexistence in a variable environment. Am Nat 114: 765–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Luckinbill LS (1978) r-and K-selection in experimental populations ofEschericia coli. Science 202: 1201–1203Google Scholar
  38. Luckinbill LS (1979) Regulation, stability and diversity in a model experimental microcosm. Ecology 60: 1098–1102Google Scholar
  39. Maguire B Jr (1971) Phytotelmata: biota and community structure in plant held waters. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 2: 439–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Marshall DR, Jain SK (1969) Interference in pure and mixed populations ofAvena fatua andA. barbata. J Ecol 57: 251–270Google Scholar
  41. May RM (1984) (Overview) In: Strong DR Jr, Simberloff D, Abele LG, Thistle AB (eds) Ecological communities: conceptual issues and the Evidence. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 1–16Google Scholar
  42. Morin PJ (1983) Predation, competition, and the composition of larval anuran guilds. Ecol Monogr 53: 119–138Google Scholar
  43. Morin PJ, Wilbur HM, Harris RN (1983) Salamander predation and the structure of experimental communities and responses ofNotophtalmus and microcrustacea. Ecology 64: 1430–1436Google Scholar
  44. Murdoch WW, McCauley E (1985) Three distinct types of dynamic behaviour shown by a single planktonic system. Nature 316: 628–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Murdoch WW, Scott MA, Ebsworth P (1984) Effects of the general predator,Notonecta (hemiptera), upon a freshwater community. J Anim Ecol 53: 791–808Google Scholar
  46. Naeem S (1988a) Resource heterogeneity fosters the coexitence of a mite and a midge in a picher plant. Ecol Monogr 58: 215–227Google Scholar
  47. Naeem S (1988b) Predator-prey interactions and community structure: chironomids, mosquitoes and copepods inHeliconia imbricata (Musaceae). Oecologia 77: 202–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Naeem S, Colwell RK (1990) Ecological consequences of heterogeneity of consumable resources. In: Kolasa J, Pickett STA (eds) Ecological heterogeneity. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York (in press)Google Scholar
  49. Neill WE (1975) Experimental studies of microcrustacean competition community composition, and efficiency of resource utilization. Ecology 56: 508–526Google Scholar
  50. Park T (1948) Experimental studies of interspecific competition. I. Competition between populations of the flour beetlesTribolium confusum Duval andT. castaneum Herbst Ecol Monogr 18: 267–307Google Scholar
  51. Rashit E, Bazin M (1987) Environmental fluctuations, productivity, and species diversity: An experimental study. Microb Ecol 14: 101–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roughgarden J (1983) Competition and theory in community ecology. Am Nat 122: 583–601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rosenzweig ML, Abramsky Z, Kotler B, Mitchell W (1985) Can interaction coefficients be determined from census data? Oecologia 66: 194–198Google Scholar
  54. Satchell JE (1974) Litter-interface of animate/inanimate matter. In: Dickenson CH, Pugh GJF (eds) biology of plant litter decomposition, vol 1. Academic Press, London, pp 13–44Google Scholar
  55. Schluter D (1984) A variance test for detecting species associations, with some example applications. Ecology 65: 998–1005Google Scholar
  56. Schoener TW (1982) The controversy over interspecific competition. Am Sci 70: 586–595Google Scholar
  57. Schoener TW (1986) Counters to claims of Walter et al. on the evolutionary significance of competition. Oikos 43: 248–250Google Scholar
  58. Seifert RP (1982) NeotropicalHeliconia insect communities. The Quarterly Rev Biol 57: 1–27Google Scholar
  59. Seifert RP (1984) Does competition structure communities? Field studies of neotropicalHeliconia insect communities. In: Strong DR Jr, Simberloff D, Abele LG, Thistle AB (eds) Ecological communities: conceptual issues and the Evidence. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 54–63Google Scholar
  60. Seifert RP, Seifert HF (1976a) A community matrix analysis ofHeliconia insect communities. Am Nat 110: 461–483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Seifert RP, Seifert HF (1976b) Natural history of insects living in inflorescences of two species ofHeliconia. J New York Entomol Soc 84: 233–242Google Scholar
  62. Semlitsch RD (1987) Interactions between fish and salamander larvae: costs of predator avoidance or competition. Oecologia 72: 481–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Shorrocks B, Atkinson W, Charlesworth P (1979) Competition on a divided and ephemeral resource. J Anim Ecol 48: 899–908Google Scholar
  64. Slatkin M (1974) Competition and regional coexistence. Ecology 61: 163–177Google Scholar
  65. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry, 2nd Ed. W.H. Freeman and Co., San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  66. Sousa WP (1979a) Experimental investigation of disturbance and ecological succession in a rocky intertidal algal community. Ecol Mongor 49: 227–254Google Scholar
  67. Sousa WP (1979b) Disturbance in marine intertidal boulder fields: the nonequilibrium maintenance of species diversity. Ecology 60: 1225–1239Google Scholar
  68. Sousa WP (1984) The role of disturbance in natural communities. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 15: 353–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Swift MJ, Heal OW, Anderson JM (1979) Decompostition in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Studies in Ecology, Vol 5, University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  70. Tilman D (1977) Resource competition between planktonic algae: an experimental and theoretical approach. Ecology 58: 338–348Google Scholar
  71. Tilman D (1982) Resource Competition and Community Structure. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  72. Tilman D (1987) The importance of the mechanisms of interspecific competition Am Nat 129: 769–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Visser S (1986) The role of soil invertebrates in determining the competition of soil microbial communities. In: Fitter AH (ed) Ecological interactions in the soil environment: plants, micorbes and animals. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  74. Walter GH, Hulley PE, Craig AJFC (1986) Speciation, adaptation, and interspecific competition. Oikos 43: 246–248Google Scholar
  75. Wilbur HM (1982) Competition between tadpoles ofHyla femoralis andHyla gratiosa in laboratory experiments. Ecology 63: 278–282Google Scholar
  76. Witkamp M, Crossley DA Jr (1966) The role of arthropods and microflora in breakdown of white oak litter. Pedobiologia 6: 293–303Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahid Naeem
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations