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Data from: Patch dynamics and temporal dispersal partly shape annual plant communities in ephemeral habitat patches

Cite this dataset

Mahaut, Lucie; Fried, Guillaume; Gaba, Sabrina (2017). Data from: Patch dynamics and temporal dispersal partly shape annual plant communities in ephemeral habitat patches [Dataset]. Dryad.


Most organisms in ephemeral habitat patches have resting stages which form a local species pool in response to temporal variations in the patch’s availability and suitability. Temporal dispersal from the local species pool may, therefore, be an important process shaping the community assembly, particularly soon after patch creation, and possibly interacting with environmental filtering. As the temporal variation of the environmental conditions has a major effect on the composition of the local species pool, we investigated how well contemporary conditions (both patch availability and patch suitability) and temporal dispersal (approximated by environmental temporal variation and temporal distance) explain the changes in community composition in a given locality through successive ephemeral habitat cycles. We used arable weeds in annual crops as models. We calculated temporal weed community dissimilarity indices between weed communities surveyed in cropping seasons at intervals of two to eight years within a given field. The weeds were surveyed twice each cropping season to account for any changes in the relative contributions of temporal dispersal and contemporary conditions during the season. Patch availability explained most of the temporal weed dissimilarity, suggesting that patch dynamics have the greatest effect on weed community assembly. Temporal distance and temporal variation of the environmental conditions had more effect at the start of the cropping season than later, while patch suitability had more effect in the middle of the season. These results suggest that temporal dispersal drives the weed community assembly when ephemeral habitat patches are created. These assemblies are further shaped by environmental filtering. This is consistent with a temporal source-sink dynamic mechanism where the seed bank acts as the main weed source. However, a large part of temporal weed dissimilarity remains unexplained, suggesting that other ecological processes such as spatial dispersal and founder effect may also shape the weed community.

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French National Territory