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Data from: Does trait-based joint species distribution modelling reveal the signature of competition in stream macroinvertebrate communities?

Citation

Elo, Merja et al. (2021), Data from: Does trait-based joint species distribution modelling reveal the signature of competition in stream macroinvertebrate communities?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k98sf7m5h

Abstract

1. The occupancy and abundance of species are jointly driven by local factors, such as environmental characteristics and biotic interactions, and regional-scale factors, such as dispersal and climate. Recently, it has been shown that biotic interactions shape species occupancies and abundances beyond local extents. However, for small ectothermic animals, particularly for those occurring in freshwater environments, the importance of biotic interactions remains understudied. Species-to-species associations from joint species distribution models (i.e. species associations while controlling for environmental characteristics) are increasingly used to draw hypotheses of which species possibly show biotic interactions.

2. We studied whether species-to-species associations from joint species distribution models show signs of competition using a hypothesis testing framework in stream macroinvertebrate communities at regional extent.

3. We sampled aquatic macroinvertebrates from 105 stream sites in western Finland encompassing a latitudinal gradient of ca. 500 kilometers. We hypothesized that if competition drives these associations (H1) functionally similar species are mostly negatively associated, whereas functionally dissimilar species show random associations. We further hypothesized that the relationship between functional dissimilarity and the strength of association is more pronounced (H2) for abundances rather than occupancies, (H3) at small grain (i.e. stream site) rather than at large grain (i.e. river basin), and (H4) among species having weak dispersal ability than among species with high dispersal ability.

4. Stream macroinvertebrates showed both negative and positive species-to-species associations while controlling for habitat characteristics. However, the negative associations were mostly at large grain (river basin) rather than at small grain (stream site), in occupancy rather than abundance, and not related to species functional dissimilarity or to their dispersal ability. Thus, all our hypotheses considering possible competition (H1-H4) were rejected.

5. Competition does not appear to be a major driving force of stream macroinvertebrate communities at the spatial grain sizes considered. The observed positive associations in occupancy at small grain (stream site) may be attributed to species’ similar microhabitat preferences, whereas at large grain (river basin), they may stem from metacommunity dynamics. Our results highlight that species traits were necessary to interpret whether or not species-to-species associations from joint species distribution models resulted from biotic interactions. 

Usage Notes

Usage notes in Stream_macroinvertebrates_readme.txt