Advertisement

Population Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 105–117 | Cite as

Spatial hierarchical approach in community ecology: a way beyond high context-dependency and low predictability in local phenomena

  • Takashi NodaEmail author
Forum Special Feature: Multiple spatial scale approaches in population and community ecology

Abstract

Patterns and functioning of communities, which are determined by a set of processes operating at a large variety of spatial and temporal scales, exhibit quite high context-dependency and low predictability at the fine spatial scales at which recent studies have concentrated. More attention to broader scale and across-scale phenomena may be useful to search for general patterns and rules in communities. In this context, it is effective to incorporate hierarchical spatial scale explicitly into the experimental and sampling design of field studies, an approach referred to here as the spatial hierarchical approach, focusing on a particular assemblage in which biological interaction and species life history are well known. The spatial hierarchical approach can provide insight into the effects of scale in operating processes and answers to a number of important questions in community ecology such as: (1) detection of patterns and processes in spatiotemporal variability in communities, including how to explain the partitioning of pattern information of species diversity at a broad scale into finer scales, and the pattern of spatial variability of community properties at the finest spatial scale; (2) evaluation of changes in patterns observed in macroecology at finer scales; (3) testing of models explaining the coexistence of competing species; and (4) detection of latitudinal patterns in spatiotemporal variability in communities and their causal processes.

Keywords

Spatial scale Level Research approach Community structure Detecting patterns 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank M. Hori, Y. Miyamoto, M. Nakaoka, and A.S. Ilano for their valuable comments regarding the early draft. This manuscript benefitted from the comments of two anonymous reviewers.

References

  1. Allen TFH (1998) The landscape “level” is dead: persuading the family to take it off the respirator. In: Peterson DL, Parker VT (eds) Ecological scale. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 3–15Google Scholar
  2. Allen TFH, Starr TB (1982) Hierarchy: perspectives for ecological complexity. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrew NR, Rodgerson L, Dunlop M (2003) Variation in invertebrate–bryophyte community structure at different spatial scales along altitudinal gradients. J Biogeogr 30:731–746CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berlow EL (1999) Strong effects of weak interactions in ecological communities. Nature 398:330–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bertness MD, Callaway R (1994) Positive interactions in communities. Trends Ecol Evol 9:191–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Boer DH (1992) Hierarchies and spatial scale in process geomorphology: a review. Geomorphology 4:303–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boyero L, Bailey RC (2001) Organization of macroinvertebrate communities at a hierarchy of spatial scales in a tropical stream. Hydrobiologia 464:219–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyero L (2003) Multiscale patterns of spatial variation in stream macroinvertebrate communities. Ecol Res 18:365–379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown JH (1995) Macroecology. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  10. Buzas MA, Culver AJ (1999) Understanding regional species diversity through the log series distribution of occurrences. Divers Distrib 8: 187–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Caffey HM (1985) Spatial and temporal variation in settlement and recruitment of intertidal barnacles. Ecol Monogr 55:313–332Google Scholar
  12. Chase JM, Leibold MA (2002) Spatial scale dictates the productivity–diversity relationship. Nature 416:427–430CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Chesson P, Huntly N (1997) The roles of harsh and fluctuating conditions in the dynamics of ecological communities. Am Nat 150:519–553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chown SL, Gaston KJ (2000) Areas, cradles and museums: the latitudinal gradient in species richness. Trends Ecol Evol 15:311–315CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Clark A, Lidgard S (2000) Spatial patterns of diversity in the sea: bryozoan species richness in the North Atlantic. J Anim Ecol 69:799–814CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clark JS, McLachlan JS (2003) Stability of forest biodiversity. Nature 423:635–638CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Clark JS, Mohan J, Dietze M, Ibanez I (2003) Coexistence: how to identify trophic trade-off. Ecology 84:17–31Google Scholar
  18. Closs GP, Lake PS (1994) Spatial and temporal variation in the structure of an intermittent-stream food web. Ecol Monogr 64:1–21Google Scholar
  19. Condit R, Pitman N, Leigh EG Jr, Chave J, Terborgh J, Foster RB, Nunez VP, Aguilar S, Valencia R, Villa G, Muller-Landau HC, Losos E, Hubbell SP (2002) Beta-diversity in tropical forest trees. Science 295:666–669CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Connell JH (1978) Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs. Science 199:1302–1310Google Scholar
  21. Connolly SR, Roughgarden J (1999) Theory of marine communities: competition, predation, and recruitment-dependent interaction strength. Ecol Monogr 69:277–296Google Scholar
  22. Cornell HV (1993) Unsaturated patterns in species assemblages: the role of regional processes in setting local species richness. In: Ricklefs RE, Schluter D (eds) Species diversity in ecological communities: historical and geographical perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 243–252Google Scholar
  23. Cowley MJR, Thomas CD, Roy DB, Wilson RJ, Leon-Cortes JL, Gutierresz D, Bulman CR, Quinn RM, Moss D, Gaston KJ (2001) Density–distribution relationships in British butterflies. I. The effect of mobility and spatial scale. J Anim Ecol 70:410–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. DeVris PJ, Walla TR (2001) Species diversity and community structure in Neotropical fruit-feeding butterflies. Biol J Linn Soc London 74:1–15Google Scholar
  25. DeVris PJ, Murray D, Lande R (1997) Species diversity in vertical, horizontal, and temporal dimensions of a fruit-feeding butterfly community in an Ecuadorian rainforest. Biol J Linn Soc London 62:343–364Google Scholar
  26. DeVris PJ, Walla TR, Greenley HF (1999) Species diversity in spatial and temporal dimensions of a fruit-feeding butterflies from two Ecuadorian rainforests. Biol J Linn Soc London 68:333–353Google Scholar
  27. Eldredge N (1985) Unfinished synthesis: biological hierarchies and modern evolutionary thought. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Fauchald P, Erikstad KE, Skarsfjord H (2000) Scale-dependent predator–prey interactions: the hierarchical spatial distribution of seabirds and prey. Ecology 81:773–783Google Scholar
  29. Foster MS (1990) Organization of macroalgal assemblages in the Northeast Pacific: the assumption of homogeneity and the illusion of generality. Hydrobiologia 192:21–33Google Scholar
  30. Fowler AJ, Doherty PJ, Williams McB (1992) Multi-scale analysis of recruitment of a coral reef fish on the Great Barrier Reef. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 82:131–141Google Scholar
  31. Fukami T (2004) Community assembly along a species pool gradient: implications for multiple-scale patterns of species diversity. Popul Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  32. Gaston KJ (1996) The multiple forms of the interspecific abundance–distribution relationship. Oikos 76:211–220Google Scholar
  33. Gaston KJ, Blackburn TM (2000) Pattern and process in macroecology. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Gering JC, Crist TO (2002) The alpha–beta-regional relationship: providing new insights into local–regional patterns of species richness and scale dependence of diversity components. Ecol Lett 5:433–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gering JC, Crist TO, Veech JA (2003) Additive partitioning of species diversity across multiple spatial scales: implications for regional conservation of biodiversity. Conserv Biol 17:488–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Godfray HC, Lawton JH (2001) Scale and species numbers. Trends Ecol Evol 16:400–404CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Gould SJ (2002) The structure of evolutionary theory. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  38. Gross KL, Willing MR, Gough L, Inouye R, Cox SB (2000) Patterns of species density and productivity at different spatial scales in herbaceous plant communities. Oikos 89:417–427Google Scholar
  39. Hanski I (1999) Metapopulation ecology. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  40. Hastings A (1980) Disturbance, coexistence, history and competition for space. Theor Popul Biol 18:363–373Google Scholar
  41. Hubbell SP (1979) Tree dispersion, abundance and diversity in a tropical dry forest. Science 203:1299–1309Google Scholar
  42. Hubbell SP (2001) The unified neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  43. Hughes TP, Baird AH, Dinsdale EA, Moltschaniwskyj NA, Pratchett MS, Tanner JE, Willis BL (1999) Patterns of recruitment and abundance of corals along the Great Barrier Reef. Nature 397:59–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Huston MA (1994) Biological diversity: the coexistence of species on changing landscapes. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  45. Huston MA (1999) Local processes and regional patterns: appropriate scales for understanding variation in the diversity of plants and animals. Oikos 86:393–401Google Scholar
  46. Inouye BD (1999) Integrating nested spatial scales: implications for the coexistence of competitors on a patchy resource. J Anim Ecol 68:150–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Janzen DH (1970) Herbivores and the number of tree species in tropical forests. Am Nat 104:501–528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. King AW (1997)Hierarchy theory: a guide to system structure for wildlife biologists. In: Bissonette JA (ed) Wildlife and landscape ecology. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 185–212Google Scholar
  49. Koestler A (1967) The ghost in the machine. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Kolasa J (1989) Ecological systems in hierarchical perspective: breaks in the community structure and other consequences. Ecology 70:36–47Google Scholar
  51. Kolasa J, Pickett STA (1989) Ecological systems and the concept of biological organization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86:8837–8841Google Scholar
  52. Koleff P, Lennon JJ, Gaston KJ (2003) Are there latitudinal gradients in species turnover? Global Ecol Biogeogr 12:483–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kondoh M (2003) Foraging adaptation and the relationship between food-web complexity and stability. Science 299:1388–1391CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Laffan SW, Crisp MD (2003) Assessing endemism at multiple spatial scales, with an example from the Australian vascular flora. J Biogeogr 30:511–520Google Scholar
  55. Lande R (1996) Statistics and partitioning of species diversity, and similarity among multiple communities. Oikos 76:5–13Google Scholar
  56. Lawton JH (1999) Are there general laws in ecology? Oikos 84:177–192Google Scholar
  57. Lawton JH, Lewinsohn TM, Compton SG (1993) Patterns of diversity for the insect herbivores on bracken. In: Ricklefs RE, Schluter D (eds) Species diversity in ecological communities: historical and geographical perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 178–184Google Scholar
  58. Lennon JJ, Koleff P, Greenwood JJD, Gaston KJ (2001) The geographical structure of British bird distributions: diversity, spatial turnover and scale. J Anim Ecol 70:966–979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Levin SA (1992) The problem of pattern and scale in ecology. Ecology 73:1943–1967Google Scholar
  60. Li J, Herlihy A, Gerth W, Kaufmann P, Gregory S, Urquhart S, Larsen DP (2001) Variability in stream macroinvertebrates at multiple spatial scales. Freshwater Biol 46:87–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Loreau M (2000) Are communities saturated? On the relationship between α, β and γ diversity. Ecol Lett 3:73–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. MacArthur RH, Levins R (1967) The limiting similarity, convergence and divergence of coexisting species. Am Nat 101:377–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  64. Martinez ND (1993) Scale and food web structure. Science 260:242–243Google Scholar
  65. Martinez ND, Dunne JA (1998) Time, space, and beyond: scale issues in food-web research. In: Peterson DL, Parker VT (eds) Ecological scale. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 207–226Google Scholar
  66. Martinez ND, Lawton JH (1995) Scale and food web structure: from local to global. Oikos 73:148–154Google Scholar
  67. McCann K, Hasting A, Huxel GR (1998) Weak trophic interactions and the balance of nature. Nature 395:794–798CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Menendez R, Thomas CD (2000) Metapopulation structure depends on spatial scale in the host-specific moth Wheeleria spilodactylus (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae). J Anim Ecol 69:935–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Menge BA (1995) Indirect effects in marine rocky intertidal interaction webs: patterns and importance. Ecol Monogr 65:21–74Google Scholar
  70. Muko S, Iwasa Y (2000) Species coexistence by permanent spatial heterogeneity in a lottery model. Theor Popul Biol 57:273–284CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  71. Murphy EJ, Morris DJ, Watkins JL, Priddle J (1988) Scales of interactions between Antarctic krill and the environment. In: Sahrhage D (ed) Antarctic ocean and resource variability. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, pp 120–130Google Scholar
  72. Nakano S, Murakami M (2001) Reciprocal subsidies: dynamic interdependence between terrestrial and aquatic food webs. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:166–170CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. Nee S, May RM (1992) Dynamics of metapopulations: habitat destruction and competitive coexistence. J Anim Ecol 61:37–40Google Scholar
  74. Noda T, Nakao S (1996) Multi-scale spatial pattern of recruitment in the barnacles Semibalanus cariosus at fishing ports on the Kameda peninsula, southern Hokkaido, Japan. Hydrobiologia 324:125–130Google Scholar
  75. Okuda T, Yamamoto T, Ito N, Nakaoka M, Noda T (2004) Latitudinal gradient of species diversity: multi-scale variability in rocky intertidal sessile assemblages along the North Western Pacific coast. Popul Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  76. O’Neil RV, King AW (1998) Homage to St. Michael: or, why are there so many books on scale? In: Peterson DL, Parker VT (eds) Ecological scale. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 3–15Google Scholar
  77. O’Neill RV (1988) Hierarchy theory and global change. In: Roswell T, Woodmansee RG, Risser PG (eds) Scales and global change: spatial and temporal variability in biospheric and geospheric processes. Wiley, Chichester, pp 29–45Google Scholar
  78. O’Neill RV, DeAngelis DL, Waide JB, Allen TFH (1986) A hierarchical concept of ecosystems. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  79. Pacala SW (1997) Dynamics of plant communities. In: Crawley ME (ed) Plant ecology. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 532–555Google Scholar
  80. Pacala SW, Levin SA (1997) Biologically generated spatial pattern and the coexistence of competing species. In: Tilman D, Kareiva P (eds) Spatial ecology. Princeton University Press, Princeton pp 204–232Google Scholar
  81. Palmer MW, White PS (1994) Scale dependence and the species–area relationship. Am Nat 144:717–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Pattee HH (1973) Hierarchy theory: the challenge of complex systems. George Braziller, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  83. Peltonen M, Heliovaara K, Vaisanen R, Keronen J (1998) Bark beetle diversity at different spatial scales. Ecography 21:510–517Google Scholar
  84. Polis GA (1991) Complex trophic interactions in deserts: an empirical critique of food-web theory. Am Nat 138:123–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Polis GA, Anderson WB, Holt RD (1997) Towards an integration of landscape and food web ecology: the dynamics of spatially subsidized food webs. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 28:289–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Post DM (2002) The long and short of food-chain length. Trends Ecol Evol 17:269–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Proulx M, Mazumder A (1998) Reversal of grazing impact on plant species richness in nutrient-poor vs. nutrient-rich ecosystems. Ecology 79:2581–2592Google Scholar
  88. Pulliam HR (2000) On the relationship between niche and distribution. Ecol Lett 3:349–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Raudenbush SW, Bryk AS (2002) Hierarchical linear models. Applications and data analysis methods, 2nd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  90. Robinson WD, Brawn J, Robinson SK (2000) Forest bird community structure in central Panama: influence of spatial scale and biogeography. Ecol Monogr 70:209–235Google Scholar
  91. Rohde K (2001) Latitudinal gradients in species diversity and Rapport’s rule revisited: a review of recent work and what can parasites teach us about the causes of the gradients? Ecography 22:593–613Google Scholar
  92. Rosenzweig ML (1995) Species diversity in space and time. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  93. Saab V (1999) Importance of spatial scale to habitat use by breeding birds in riparian forests: a hierarchical analysis. Ecol Appl 9:135–151Google Scholar
  94. Sanford E (1999) Regulation of keystone predation by small changes in ocean temperature. Science 283:2095–2097CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  95. Schmid PE, Tokeshi M, Schmid-Araya JM (2000) Relation between population density and body size in stream community. Science 289:1557–1560CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  96. Schmid PE, Tokeshi M, Schmid-Araya JM (2002) Scaling in stream communities. Proc R Soc London B Biol Sci 269:2587–2589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Schmitz OJ (1998) Direct and indirect effects of predation and predation risk in old field interaction webs. Am Nat 151:327–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Shorrocks B, Atkinson W, Charlesworth P (1979) Competition on a divided and ephemeral resource. J Anim Ecol 48:899–908Google Scholar
  99. Silva M, Brown JH, Downing JA (1997) Differences in population density and energy use between birds and mammals: a macroecological perspective. J Anim Ecol 66:327–340Google Scholar
  100. Srivastava D (1999) Using local–regional richness plots to test for species saturation: pitfalls and potential. J Anim Ecol 68:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Sunahara T, Mogi M (2004) Searching clusters of community composition along multiple spatial scales: a case study on aquatic invertebrate communities in bamboo stumps in West Timor. Popul Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  102. Takada M, Miyashita T (2004) Additive and non-additive population level effects on the determination of patch level density in a web spider Linyphia brongersmai. Popul Ecol (in press)Google Scholar
  103. Tavares-Cromar AF, Williams DD (1996) The importance of temporal resolution in food web analysis: evidence from a detritus-based stream. Ecol Monogr 66:91–113Google Scholar
  104. Thrush SF (1999) Complex role of predations in structuring soft-sediment macrobenthic communities: implications of changes in spatial scale for experimental studies. Aust J Ecol 24:344–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Tilman D (1982) Resource competition and community structure. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  106. Tilman D (1994) Competition and biodiversity in spatially structured habitats. Ecology 75:2–16Google Scholar
  107. Tilman D, Lehman CL, Bristow CE (1998) Diversity–stability relationship: statistical inevitability or ecological consequence? Am Nat 151:277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Tokeshi M (1999) Species coexistence. Blackwell, LondonGoogle Scholar
  109. Tokeshi M, Schmid PE (2002) Niche division and abundance: an evolutionary perspective. Popul Ecol 44:189–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Turner JRG, Gatehouse CM, Corey CA (1987) Does solar energy control organic diversity? Butterflies, moths and the British climate. Oikos 48:195–205Google Scholar
  111. Turner MG, Gardner RH, O’Neill RV (2001) Landscape ecology in theory and practice. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  112. Underwood AJ, Patraitis PS (1993) Structure of intertidal assemblages in different locations: how can local processes be compared? In: Ricklefs RE, Schluter D (eds) Species diversity in ecological communities: historical and geographical perspectives. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 39–51Google Scholar
  113. Urabe J (1993) N and P cycling coupled by grazer’s activities: food quality and nutrient release by zooplankton. Ecology 74:2337–2350Google Scholar
  114. Wagner HH, Wildi O, Ewald KC (2000) Additive partitioning of plant species diversity in an agricultural mosaic landscape. Landsc Ecol 15:219–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  115. Waide RB, Willig MR, Steiner CF, Mittelbach G, Gough L, Dodson SI, Juday GP, Parmenter R (1999) The relationship between productivity and species richness. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 30:257–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  116. Weigel BM, Wang L, Pasmussen PW, Butcher JT, Stewart PM, Simon TP, Wiley MJ (2003) Relative influence of variables at multiple spatial scales on stream macroinvertebrates in the Northern Lakes and Forest ecoregion, USA. Freshwater Biol 48:1440–1461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Wellnitz TA, Poff NL, Cosyleon G, Steury B (2001) Current velocity and spatial scale as determinants of the distribution and abundance of two rheophilic herbivorous insects. Landsc Ecol 16:111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  118. Whyte LL, Wilson AG, Wilson D (1969) Hierarchical structures. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  119. Williams SE, Marsh H, Winter J (2002) Spatial scale, species diversity. and habitat structure: small mammals in Australian tropical rain forest. Ecology 83:1317–1329Google Scholar
  120. Yodzis P (1996) Food webs and perturbation experiments: theory and practice. In: Polis GA, Winemiller KO (eds) Food webs: integration of patterns and dynamics. Chapman and Hall, New York, pp 192–200Google Scholar
  121. Yodzis P (2001) Must top predators be culled for the sake of fisheries? Trends Ecol Evol 16:78–84CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  122. Zobel M (1997) The relative role of species pools in determining plant species richness: an alternative explanation of species coexistence? Trends Ecol Evol 12:266–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Fisheries SciencesHokkaido UniversityHakodate 041-8611Japan

Personalised recommendations