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Data from: Ecosystem engineering strengthens bottom-up and weakens top-down effects via trait-mediated indirect interactions

Citation

Zhong, Zhiwei et al. (2017), Data from: Ecosystem engineering strengthens bottom-up and weakens top-down effects via trait-mediated indirect interactions, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7v475

Abstract

Trophic interactions and ecosystem engineering are ubiquitous and powerful forces structuring ecosystems, yet how these processes interact to shape natural systems is poorly understood. Moreover, trophic effects can be driven by both density- and trait-mediated interactions. Microcosm studies demonstrate that trait-mediated interactions may be as strong as density-mediated interactions, but the relative importance of these pathways at natural spatial and temporal scales is underexplored. Here, we integrate large-scale field experiments and microcosms to examine the effects of ecosystem engineering on trophic interactions while also exploring how ecological scale influences density- and trait-mediated interaction pathways. We demonstrate that (i) ecosystem engineering can shift the balance between top-down and bottom-up interactions, (ii) such effects can be driven by cryptic trait-mediated interactions, and (iii) the relative importance of density- versus trait-mediated interaction pathways can be scale dependent. Our findings reveal the complex interplay between ecosystem engineering, trophic interactions, and ecological scale in structuring natural systems.

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