Linking spatial self-organization to community assembly and biodiversity

  1. Bidesh K Bera
  2. Omer Tzuk
  3. Jamie J R Bennett
  4. Ehud Meron  Is a corresponding author
  1. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Abstract

Temporal shifts to drier climates impose environmental stresses on plant communities that may result in community reassembly and threatened ecosystem services, but also may trigger self-organization in spatial patterns of biota and resources, which act to relax these stresses. The complex relationships between these counteracting processes - community reassembly and spatial self-organization - have hardly been studied. Using a spatio-temporal model of dryland plant communities and a trait-based approach, we study the response of such communities to increasing water-deficit stress. We first show that spatial patterning acts to reverse shifts from fast-growing species to stress-tolerant species, as well as to reverse functional-diversity loss. We then show that spatial self-organization buffers the impact of further stress on community structure. Finally, we identify multistability ranges of uniform and patterned community states and use them to propose forms of non-uniform ecosystem management that integrate the need for provisioning ecosystem services with the need to preserve community structure.

Data availability

The current manuscript is a computational study, so no data have been generated for this manuscript. Modelling code is uploaded to github

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Bidesh K Bera

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Omer Tzuk

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-6541-3311
  3. Jamie J R Bennett

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-9748-5010
  4. Ehud Meron

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
    For correspondence
    ehud@bgu.ac.il
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3602-7411

Funding

Irsael Science Foundation (1053/17)

  • Bidesh K Bera

PBC Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Bidesh K Bera

Kreitman Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Jamie J R Bennett

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

Reviewing Editor

  1. Bernhard Schmid, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Publication history

  1. Preprint posted: June 20, 2021 (view preprint)
  2. Received: September 13, 2021
  3. Accepted: September 19, 2021
  4. Accepted Manuscript published: September 27, 2021 (version 1)
  5. Version of Record published: October 7, 2021 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2021, Bera 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.

Metrics

  • 591
    Page views
  • 101
    Downloads
  • 1
    Citations

Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.

Download links

A two-part list of links to download the article, or parts of the article, in various formats.

Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)

Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)

Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)

  1. Bidesh K Bera
  2. Omer Tzuk
  3. Jamie J R Bennett
  4. Ehud Meron
(2021)
Linking spatial self-organization to community assembly and biodiversity
eLife 10:e73819.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.73819

Further reading

    1. Ecology
    Tom WN Walker et al.
    Research Article

    Climate warming is releasing carbon from soils around the world1-3, constituting a positive climate feedback. Warming is also causing species to expand their ranges into new ecosystems4-9. Yet, in most ecosystems, whether range expanding species will amplify or buffer expected soil carbon loss is unknown10. Here we used two whole-community transplant experiments and a follow-up glasshouse experiment to determine whether the establishment of herbaceous lowland plants in alpine ecosystems influences soil carbon content under warming. We found that warming (transplantation to low elevation) led to a negligible decrease in alpine soil carbon content, but its effects became significant and 52% ± 31% (mean ± 95% CIs) larger after lowland plants were introduced at low density into the ecosystem. We present evidence that decreases in soil carbon content likely occurred via lowland plants increasing rates of root exudation, soil microbial respiration and CO2 release under warming. Our findings suggest that warming-induced range expansions of herbaceous plants have the potential to alter climate feedbacks from this system, and that plant range expansions among herbaceous communities may be an overlooked mediator of warming effects on carbon dynamics.

    1. Ecology
    2. Evolutionary Biology
    Longhui Zhao et al.
    Research Article

    Many animals rely on complex signals that target multiple senses to attract mates and repel rivals. These multimodal displays can however also attract unintended receivers, which can be an important driver of signal complexity. Despite being taxonomically widespread, we often lack insight into how multimodal signals evolve from unimodal signals and in particular what roles unintended eavesdroppers play. Here we assess whether the physical movements of parasite defense behavior increase the complexity and attractiveness of an acoustic sexual signal in the little torrent frog (Amolops torrentis). Calling males of this species often display limb movements in order to defend against blood-sucking parasites such as frog-biting midges that eavesdrop on their acoustic signal. Through mate choice tests we show that some of these midge-evoked movements influence female preference for acoustic signals. Our data suggest that midge-induced movements may be incorporated into a sexual display, targeting both hearing and vision in the intended receiver. Females may play an important role in incorporating these multiple components because they prefer signals which combine multiple modalities. Our results thus help to understand the relationship between natural and sexual selection pressure operating on signalers and how in turn this may influence multimodal signal evolution.