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Data from: Spatial insurance in multi-trophic metacommunities

Cite this dataset

Limberger, Romana; Pitt, Alexandra; Hahn, Martin W.; Wickham, Stephen A. (2019). Data from: Spatial insurance in multi-trophic metacommunities [Dataset]. Dryad.


Metacommunity theory suggests that dispersal is a key driver of diversity and ecosystem functioning in changing environments. The capacity of dispersal to mitigate effects of environmental change might vary among trophic groups, potentially resulting in changes in trophic interactions and food web structure. In a mesocosm experiment, we compared the compositional response of bacteria, phyto- and zooplankton to a factorial manipulation of acidification and dispersal. We found that the buffering capacity of dispersal varied among trophic groups: dispersal alleviated the negative effect of acidification on phytoplankton diversity mid-experiment, but had no effect on the diversity of zooplankton and bacteria. Likewise, trophic groups differed in whether dispersal facilitated compositional change. Dispersal accelerated changes in phytoplankton composition under acidification, possibly mediated by changes in trophic interactions, but had no effect on the composition of zooplankton and bacteria. Overall, our results suggest that the potential for spatial insurance can vary among trophic groups.

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