Learning Landscape Ecology

pp 255-271


Linking Landscapes and Metacommunities

  • Joseph R. BennettAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Carleton University Email author  
  • , Benjamin GilbertAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto 

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Landscape ecology is the study of interactions between spatial landscape patterns and ecological processes, typically examining real landscapes at broad spatial scales. Metacommunity ecology focuses more specifically on how spatial processes alter species interactions and typically involves a localized spatial extent and more abstracted spatial landscapes (Ecology, genetics, and evolution of metapopulations, San Diego, 45–69, 2004). These disciplines have evolved somewhat independently, despite a shared interest in how organisms respond to and interact with spatial phenomena. In this chapter, we combine perspectives from both disciplines using a suite of multivariate spatial statistical techniques designed to help understand the relative importance of abiotic factors (such as climatic gradients, geologic features, and resource availability) and biotic factors (such as predator territoriality and seed dispersal) in determining the abundances of species in communities. To illustrate these techniques, we use a well-known dataset of tropical trees. This lab will enable students to.