The complexity of coral-reef ecosystems makes it challenging to predict their dynamics and resilience under future disturbance regimes. Models for coral-reef dynamics do not adequately account for the high functional diversity exhibited by corals. Models that are ecologically and mechanistically detailed are therefore required to simulate the ecological processes driving coral reef dynamics. Here we describe a novel model that includes processes at different spatial scales, and the contribution of species’ functional diversity to benthic-community dynamics. We calibrated and validated the model to reproduce observed dynamics using empirical data from Caribbean reefs. The model exhibits realistic community dynamics, and individual population dynamics are ecologically plausible. A global sensitivity analysis revealed that the number of larvae produced locally, and interaction-induced reductions in growth rate are the parameters with the largest influence on community dynamics. The model provides a platform for virtual experiments to explore diversity-functioning relationships in coral reefs.
- Jason Pither
- Lael Parrott
- Jason Pither
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Volker Grimm
- Received: February 12, 2020
- Accepted: July 23, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 23, 2020 (version 1)
© 2020, Carturan et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
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