Skip to main content

Data from: Carryover effects drive competitive dominance in spatially structured environments

Cite this dataset

Van Allen, Benjamin G.; Rudolf, Volker H. W. (2017). Data from: Carryover effects drive competitive dominance in spatially structured environments [Dataset]. Dryad.


Understanding how changes to the quality of habitat patches affect the distribution of species across the whole landscape is critical in our human-dominated world and changing climate. Although patterns of species’ abundances across a landscape are clearly influenced by dispersal among habitats and local species interactions, little is known about how the identity and origin of dispersers affect these patterns. Because traits of individuals are altered by experiences in their natal habitat, differences in the natal habitat of dispersers can carry over when individuals disperse to new habitats and alter their fitness and interactions with other species. We manipulated the presence or absence of such carried-over natal habitat effects for up to eight generations to examine their influence on two interacting species across multiple dispersal rates and different habitat compositions. We found that experimentally accounting for the natal habitat of dispersers significantly influenced competitive outcomes at all spatial scales and increased total community biomass within a landscape. However, the direction and magnitude of the impact of natal habitat effects was dependent upon landscape type and dispersal rate. Interestingly, effects of natal habitats increased the difference between species performance across the landscape, suggesting that natal habitat effects could alter competitive interactions to promote spatial coexistence. Given that heterogeneity in habitat quality is ubiquitous in nature, natal habitat effects are likely important drivers of spatial community structure and could promote variation in species performance, which may help facilitate spatial coexistence. The results have important implications for conservation and invasive species management.

Usage notes