Immigration, local dispersal limitation, and the repeatability of community composition under neutral and niche dynamics.

Research paper by Dexiecuo D Ai, Philippe P Desjardins-Proulx, Chengjin C Chu, Gang G Wang

Indexed on: 03 Oct '12Published on: 03 Oct '12Published in: PloS one


Repeatability of community composition has been a critical aspect for community structure, which is closely associated with community stability, predictability, conservation biology and ecological restoration. It has been shown that both immigration and local dispersal limitation can affect the community composition in both neutral and niche model. Hence, we use a spatially explicit individual-based model to investigate the potential influence of immigration rate and strength of local dispersal limitation on repeatability in both neutral and niche models. Similarity measures are used to quantify repeatability. We examine the repeatability of community composition among replicate communities (which means the same community repeats many times), and between niche and neutral replicate communities. We find the correlation between repeatability and immigration rate is positive in the neutral model and an inverted unimodal in the niche model. The correlation between repeatability and local dispersal distance is positive in the niche model and negative in the neutral model. High repeatability between niche communities and neutral communities is observed with high immigration rates or when high local dispersal distance appears in the niche model or low local dispersal distance in the neutral model. Our results show that repeatability of community composition is not only dependent on the types of community models (niche vs. neutrality) but also strongly determined by immigration rates and local dispersal limitation.