Data from: A new integrative framework for large-scale assessments of biodiversity and community dynamics, using littoral gastropods and crabs of British Columbia, Canada
Castelin, Magalie et al. (2016), Data from: A new integrative framework for large-scale assessments of biodiversity and community dynamics, using littoral gastropods and crabs of British Columbia, Canada, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.g0v02
Improving our understanding of species responses to environmental changes is an important contribution ecologists can make to facilitate effective management decisions. Novel synthetic approaches to assessing biodiversity and ecosystem integrity are needed, ideally including all species living in a community and the dynamics defining their ecological relationships. Here we present and apply an integrative approach that links high-throughput, multi-character taxonomy with community ecology. The overall purpose is to enable the coupling of biodiversity assessments with investigations into the nature of ecological interactions in a community-level data set. We collected 1,195 gastropods and crabs in British Columbia. First, the General mixed Yule-coalescent (GMYC) and the Poisson Tree Processes (PTP) methods for proposing primary species-hypotheses based on cox1 sequences were evaluated against an integrative taxonomic framework. We then used data on the geographic distribution of delineated species to test species co-occurrence patterns for non-randomness using community-wide and pairwise approaches. Results showed that PTP generally outperformed GMYC and thus constitutes a more effective option for producing species-hypotheses in community-level datasets. Non-random species co-occurrence patterns indicative of ecological relationships or habitat preferences were observed for grazer gastropods, whereas assemblages of opportunistic omnivorous gastropods and crabs appeared influenced by random processes. Species-pair associations were consistent with current ecological knowledge, thus suggesting that applying community assembly within a large taxonomical framework constitutes a valuable tool for assessing ecological interactions. Combining phylogenetic, morphological and co-occurrence data enabled an integrated view of communities, providing both a conceptual and pragmatic framework for biodiversity assessments and investigations into community dynamics.