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Data from: Community rescue in experimental metacommunities

Cite this dataset

Low-Décarie, Etienne et al. (2016). Data from: Community rescue in experimental metacommunities [Dataset]. Dryad.


The conditions that allow biodiversity to recover following severe environmental degradation are poorly understood. We studied community rescue, the recovery of a viable community through the evolutionary rescue of many populations within an evolving community, in metacommunities of soil microbes adapting to a herbicide. The metacommunities occupied a landscape of crossed spatial gradients of the herbicide (Dalapon) and a resource (glucose), whereas their constituent communities were either isolated or connected by dispersal. The spread of adapted communities across the landscape and the persistence of communities when that landscape was degraded were strongly promoted by dispersal, and the capacity to adapt to lethal stress was also related to community size and initial diversity. After abrupt and lethal stress, community rescue was most frequent in communities that had previously experienced sublethal levels of stress and had been connected by dispersal. Community rescue occurred through the evolutionary rescue of both initially common taxa, which remained common, and of initially rare taxa, which grew to dominate the evolved community. Community rescue may allow productivity and biodiversity to recover from severe environmental degradation.

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