1. Computational and Systems Biology
  2. Ecology
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Combining agent-based, trait-based and demographic approaches to model coral-community dynamics

  1. Bruno Sylvain Carturan  Is a corresponding author
  2. Jason Pither  Is a corresponding author
  3. Jean-Philippe Maréchal
  4. Corey J. A. Bradshaw
  5. Lael Parrott  Is a corresponding author
  1. University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Canada
  2. Nova Blue Environment, France
  3. Flinders University, Australia
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e55993 doi: 10.7554/eLife.55993

Abstract

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.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Bruno Sylvain Carturan

    Biology, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, Canada
    For correspondence
    bruno.carturan@alumni.ubc.ca
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-6811-1063
  2. Jason Pither

    Biology, Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, Canada
    For correspondence
    jason.pither@ubc.ca
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Jean-Philippe Maréchal

    NA, Nova Blue Environment, Schoelcher, France
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Corey J. A. Bradshaw

    Global Ecology, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-5328-7741
  5. Lael Parrott

    Biology, Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus, Kelowna, Canada
    For correspondence
    lael.parrott@ubc.ca
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

Canada Foundation for Innovation (Leaders Opportunity Fund,23065)

  • Jason Pither

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (RGPIN,2019-05190)

  • Lael Parrott

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (RGPIN,2014-04176)

  • Jason Pither

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Volker Grimm

Publication history

  1. Received: February 12, 2020
  2. Accepted: July 23, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 23, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

© 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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