Dendritic network structure and dispersal affect temporal dynamics of diversity and species persistence
Seymour, M.; Fronhofer, E. A. & Altermatt, F. Dendritic network structure and dispersal affect temporal dynamics of diversity and species persistence Oikos, 2015, 124, 908-916. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/oik.02354
Abstract: Landscape connectivity structure, specifically the dendritic network structure of rivers, is expected to influence community diversity dynamics by altering dispersal patterns, and subsequently the unfolding of species interactions. However, previous comparative and experimental work on dendritic metacommunities has studied diversity mostly from an equilibrium perspective. Here we investigated the effect of dendritic versus linear network structure on local ($\alpha$-diversity), among ($\beta$-diversity) and total ($\gamma$-diversity) temporal species community diversity dynamics. Using a combination of microcosm experiments, which allowed for active dispersal of 14 protists and a rotifer species, and numerical analyses, we demonstrate the general importance of spatial network configuration and basic life history tradeoffs as driving factors of different diversity patterns in linear and dendritic systems. We experimentally found that community diversity patterns were shaped by the interaction of dispersal within the networks and local species interactions. Specifically, $\alpha$-diversity remained higher in dendritic networks over time, especially at highly connected sites. $\beta$-diversity was initially greater in linear networks, due to increased dispersal limitation, but became more similar to $\beta$-diversity in dendritic networks over time. Comparing the experimental results with a neutral metacommunity model we found that dispersal and network connectivity alone may, to a large extent, explain $\alpha$- and $\beta$-diversity dynamics. However, additional mechanisms, such as variation in carrying capacity and competition--colonization tradeoffs, were needed in the model to capture the detailed temporal diversity dynamics of the experiments, such as a general decline in $\gamma$-diversity and long-term dynamics in $\alpha$-diversity.