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Data from: A dynamic model of facilitation on environmental stress gradients


Dangles, Olivier (2019), Data from: A dynamic model of facilitation on environmental stress gradients, Dryad, Dataset,


Theories based on competition for resources in animals and other non-sessile organisms rarely consider the role of facilitative interactions. Yet these interactions are important for community assembly, especially under stressful environments (e.g. the stress-gradient hypothesis, SGH). To make an explicit link between species interaction theory and SGH patterns, I used a classic resource competition model promoting coexistence between a beneficiary and its facilitator sharing a common resource along a stress gradient. I compared model outcomes for two fundamentally different mechanisms of facilitation (alleviation of resource vs. non-resource stress), and also tested the effect of a reciprocal cost of facilitation from the beneficiary. I then tested model's biological relevance using experimental data from two tuber moth species (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae) for which facilitation in resource access was previously established. Simulation outcomes revealed that both the mode of facilitation and the incorporation of facilitation costs affected the shape of the facilitation-stress relationship. These predictions are in line with current SGH observations and experiments on both plants and animals and reconcile the frequently reported variability of this relationship in nature. Moreover, a sensitivity analysis of model's parameters confirmed the robustness of the modelling framework to uncover the mechanisms responsible for observed species interaction–stress patterns. Finally, when parameterized with tuber moth demographic data, model's results corresponded to observed interaction outcomes along resource stress gradients. Overall, having a common model for plants and animals may simplify assumptions in SGH studies, allow contrasting the shapes of different consumer-resource relationships and specifying the conditions that favour one type of interaction outcome over another.

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