Advertisement

Community Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27–34 | Cite as

High community dissimilarity at low productivity causes the productivity-richness relation to vary with observational scale

  • W. LiEmail author
  • M. H. H. Stevens
Article

Abstract

It is widely reported that the productivity-richness relation (PRR) is highly variable, and several field studies suggest that the PRR varies with observational scale. Here we provide the first experimental study to test whether the PRR is scale-dependent when all replicate ecosystems have similar initial conditions. We also test the relation between productivity and compositional dissimilarity, and whether the PRR varies with ecosystem size. Moderately complex replicated microcosms were assembled consisting of a range of protozoa, algae, and a diverse bacterial flora. We found that the PRR of protozoan and algal communities varied with observational scale, but was unrelated to ecosystem size. Specifically, protozoan and algal richness increased monotonically with productivity at the local scale, but became flattened at the regional scale. This varying PRR at different scales occurred because dissimilarity among replicates decreased with productivity. Thus, in this model system, our experimental approach found a different form of scale dependence than previous field research. We speculate that this difference results from different processes governing extinctions at low levels of productivity.

Keywords

Dissimilarity Ecosystem size Microcosms Observational scale Productivity-richness relation 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abrams, P.A. 1995. Monotonic or unimodal diversity-productivity gradients: what does competition theory predict? Ecology 76: 2019–2027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brown, J.H. 1973. Species diversity of seed-eating desert rodents in sand dune habitats. Ecology 54: 775–787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chalcraft, D.R., J.W. Williams, M.D. Smith and M.R. Willig. 2004. Scale dependence in the speices-richness-productivity relationship: the role of species turnover. Ecology 85: 2701–2708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chase, J.M. and M.A. Leibold. 2002. Spatial scale dictates the productivity-biodiversity relationship. Nature 416: 427–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chase, J.M. and W.A. Ryberg. 2004. Connectivity, scale-dependence, and the productivity-diversity relationship. Ecol. Lett. 7: 676–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crawley, M.J. 2002. Statistical Computing: An Introduction to Data Analysis using S-Plus. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Drake, J.A. 1991. Community assembly mechanics and the structure of an experimental species ensemble. Am. Nat. 137: 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fukami, T. and P.J. Morin. 2003. Productivity-biodiversity relationships depend on the history of community assembly. Nature 424: 423–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fukami, T. 2004. Assembly history interacts with ecosystem size to influence species diversity. Ecology 85: 3234–3242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gross, K.L., M.R. Willig, L. Gough, R. Inouye and S.B. Cox. 2000. Patterns of species density and productivity at different spatial scales in herbaceous plant communities. Oikos 89: 417–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hall, S.J., S.A. Gray and Z.L. Hammett. 2000. Biodiversity-productivity relationships: an experimental evaluation of mechanisms. Oecologia 122: 545–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hulot, F.D., P.J. Morin and M. Loreau. 2001. Interactions between algae and the microbial loop in experimental microcosms. Oikos 95:231–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Huston, M.A. 1994. Biological Diversity: The Coexistence of Species on Changing Landscapes. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  14. Jiang, L. and P.J. Morin. 2004. Productivity gradients cause positive diversity-invasibility relationships in microbial communities. Ecol. Lett. 7: 1047–1057.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kaspari, M., S. O’Donnell and J.R. Kercher. 2000. Energy, density, and constraints to species richness: ant assemblages along a productivity gradient. Am. Nat. 155: 280–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kassen, R., A. Buckling, G. Bell and P.B. Rainey. 2000. Diversity peaks at intermediate productivity in a laboratory microcosm. Nature 406: 508–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kondoh, M. 2001. Unifying the relationships of species richness to productivity and disturbance. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 268: 269–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lande, R. 1993. Risks of population extinction from demographic and environmental stochasticity and random catastrophes. Am. Nat. 142: 911–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Law, R. and D. Morton. 1993. Alternative permanent states of ecological communities. Ecology 74: 1347–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Luh, H.K. and S.L. Pimm. 1993. The assembly of ecological communities: a minimalist approach. J. Anim. Ecol. 62: 749–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McCann, K. S. et al. 2005. The dynamics of spatially coupled food webs. Ecol. Lett. 8: 513–523.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mittelbach, G.G., C.F. Steiner, S.M. Scheiner, K.L. Gross, H.L. Reynolds, R.B. Waide, M.R. Willing, S.I. Dondson and L. Gough. 2001. What is the observed relationship between species richness and productivity? Ecology 82: 2381–2396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Price, J.E. and P.J. Morin. 2004. Colonization history determines alternate community states in a food web of intraguild predators. Ecology 85: 1017–1028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. R Development Core Team. 2008. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria.Google Scholar
  25. Reed, D.H., J.J. O’Grady, B.W. Brook, J.D. Ballou and R. Frank-ham. 2003. Estimates of minimum viable population size for vertebrates and factors influencing those estimates. Biol. Con-serv. 113: 23–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rosenzweig, M.L. and P.A. Abramsky. 1993. How are diversity and productivity related? In: Ricklefs, R. and D. Schluter (eds.), Species Diversity in Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. pp. 52–65.Google Scholar
  27. Srivastava, D.S. and J.H. Lawton. 1998. Why more productive sites have more species: an experimental test of theory using tree-hole communities. Am. Nat. 152: 510–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stevens, M.H.H. and W.P. Carson. 2002. Resource quantity, not resource heterogeneity, controls diversity. Ecol. Lett. 5: 420–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thompson, R.M. and C.R. Townsend. 2005. Food-web topology varies with spatial scale in a patchy environment. Ecology 86: 1916–1925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Waide, R.B., M.R. Willing, C.F. Steiner, G.G. Mittelbach, L. Gough, S.I. Dodson, G.P. Juday and R. Parmenter. 1999. The relationship between productivity and species richness. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 30: 257–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wright, D.H. 1983. Species-energy theory, an extension of species-area theory. Oikos 41: 496–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2010

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA

Personalised recommendations