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Asynchrony among local communities stabilises ecosystem function of metacommunities, 2017


Wilcox, K.R., Tredennick, A.T., Koerner, S.E., Grman, E, Hallett, L.M., ...


Wiley Online Library, Ecology Letters 20 (12) :1534-1545
DOI: 10.1111/ele.12861
NWT Accession Number: 2024

Abstract

Temporal stability of ecosystem functioning increases the predictability and reliability of ecosystem services, and understanding the drivers of stability across spatial scales is important for land management and policy decisions. We used species-level abundance data from 62 plant communities across five continents to assess mechanisms of temporal stability across spatial scales. We assessed how asynchrony (i.e. different units responding dissimilarly through time) of species and local communities stabilised metacommunity ecosystem function. Asynchrony of species increased stability of local communities, and asynchrony among local communities enhanced metacommunity stability by a wide range of magnitudes (1–315%); this range was positively correlated with the size of the metacommunity. Additionally, asynchronous responses among local communities were linked with species’ populations fluctuating asynchronously across space, perhaps stemming from physical and/or competitive differences among local communities. Accordingly, we suggest spatial heterogeneity should be a major focus for maintaining the stability of ecosystem services at larger spatial scales.

Keywords

ecosystem functions, metacommunities, ecological stability, asynchronous responses

Associated Niwot LTER Researchers:

Related Field Location(s):

SaddleOutside study area

Related Data by Discipline(s):

Plant/vegetation ecology

Citation

Wilcox, K.R., Tredennick, A.T., Koerner, S.E., Grman, E, Hallett, L.M., ..., (2017) Asynchrony among local communities stabilises ecosystem function of metacommunities. Wiley Online Library, Ecology Letters 20 (12) :1534-1545 , DOI: 10.1111/ele.12861

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB-1637686. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necesarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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