Data from: Energetic increases lead to niche packing in deep-sea wood falls
McClain, Craig R. et al. (2018), Data from: Energetic increases lead to niche packing in deep-sea wood falls, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8q2kg02
Mechanisms leading to variation in diversity over energetic gradients continue to challenge ecologists. Changes in diversity may reflect the environmental capacity to support species’ coexistence through increased niche packing or niche space expansion. Current ecological theory predicts increases of energy may lead to both scenarios but not their relative strengths. We use experimental deep-sea, wood-fall communities, where energy supply can be controlled, to test for the importance of niche expansion and packing in functional space over an energetic gradient. Invertebrate communities were identified and counted from 16 Acacia sp. logs ranging in size from 0.6 to 20.6 kg in mass (corresponding to energy availability) deployed at 3203 m in the Pacific Ocean for 5 years. We use four fundamental energetic species-level functional traits--food source, trophic category, motility, and tiering--to characterize species niches. Increases in energy on wood falls lead to increases of species richness. This higher species richness resulted from a substantial increase in mean niche overlap, suggesting that increases in energy may afford reduced competition.