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Data from: Manipulation of habitat isolation and area implicates deterministic factors and limited neutrality in community assembly

Citation

Ord, Terry J. et al. (2018), Data from: Manipulation of habitat isolation and area implicates deterministic factors and limited neutrality in community assembly, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.55nh5

Abstract

Theory predicts deterministic and stochastic factors will contribute to community assembly in different ways: environmental filters should regulate those species that establish in a particular area resulting in the ecological requirements of species being the primary driver of species distributions, while chance and dispersal limitation should dictate the likelihood of species reaching certain areas with the ecology of species being largely neutral. These factors are specifically relevant for understanding how the area and isolation of different habitats or islands interact to affect community composition. Our review of the literature found few experimental studies have examined the interactive effect of habitat area and isolation on community assembly, and the results of those experiments have been mixed. We manipulated the area and isolation of rock ‘islands’ created de novo in a grassland matrix to experimentally test how deterministic and stochastic factors shape colonizing animal communities. Over 64 weeks, the experiment revealed the primacy of deterministic factors in community assembly, with habitat islands of the same size exhibiting remarkable consistency in community composition and diversity, irrespective of isolation. Nevertheless, tangible differences still existed in abundance inequality among taxa: large, near islands had consistently higher numbers of common taxa compared to all other island types. Dispersal limitation is often assumed to be negligible at small spatial scales, but our data shows this not to be the case. Furthermore, the dispersal limitation of a subset of species has potentially complex flow-on effects for dictating the type of deterministic factors affecting other colonising species.

Usage Notes

Location

New South Wales
Australia
Wollar