Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts

Lyons, S. Kathleen, Amatangelo, Kathryn L., Behrensmeyer, Anna K., Bercovici, Antoine, Blois, Jessica L., Davis, Matt, DiMichele, William A., Du, Andrew, Eronen, Jussi T., Faith, J. Tyler, Graves, Gary R., Jud, Nathan, Labandeira, Conrad, Looy, Cindy V., McGill, Brian, Miller, Joshua H., Patterson, David, Pineda-Munoz, Silvia, Potts, Richard, Riddle, Brett, Terry, Rebecca, Tóth, Anikó, Ulrich, Werner, Villaseñor, Amelia, Wing, Scott, Anderson, Heidi, Anderson, John, Waller, Donald and Gotelli, Nicholas J. (2016) Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts. Nature, 529 7584: 80-83. doi:10.1038/nature16447

Author Lyons, S. Kathleen
Amatangelo, Kathryn L.
Behrensmeyer, Anna K.
Bercovici, Antoine
Blois, Jessica L.
Davis, Matt
DiMichele, William A.
Du, Andrew
Eronen, Jussi T.
Faith, J. Tyler
Graves, Gary R.
Jud, Nathan
Labandeira, Conrad
Looy, Cindy V.
McGill, Brian
Miller, Joshua H.
Patterson, David
Pineda-Munoz, Silvia
Potts, Richard
Riddle, Brett
Terry, Rebecca
Tóth, Anikó
Ulrich, Werner
Villaseñor, Amelia
Wing, Scott
Anderson, Heidi
Anderson, John
Waller, Donald
Gotelli, Nicholas J.
Title Holocene shifts in the assembly of plant and animal communities implicate human impacts
Journal name Nature   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1476-4687
Publication date 2016-01-07
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/nature16447
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 529
Issue 7584
Start page 80
End page 83
Total pages 4
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Understanding how ecological communities are organized and how they change through time is critical to predicting the effects of climate change. Recent work documenting the co-occurrence structure of modern communities found that most significant species pairs co-occur less frequently than would be expected by chance. However, little is known about how co-occurrence structure changes through time. Here we evaluate changes in plant and animal community organization over geological time by quantifying the co-occurrence structure of 359,896 unique taxon pairs in 80 assemblages spanning the past 300 million years. Co-occurrences of most taxon pairs were statistically random, but a significant fraction were spatially aggregated or segregated. Aggregated pairs dominated from the Carboniferous period (307 million years ago) to the early Holocene epoch (11,700 years before present), when there was a pronounced shift to more segregated pairs, a trend that continues in modern assemblages. The shift began during the Holocene and coincided with increasing human population size and the spread of agriculture in North America. Before the shift, an average of 64% of significant pairs were aggregated; after the shift, the average dropped to 37%. The organization of modern and late Holocene plant and animal assemblages differs fundamentally from that of assemblages over the past 300 million years that predate the large-scale impacts of humans. Our results suggest that the rules governing the assembly of communities have recently been changed by human activity.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Wed, 13 Jan 2016, 07:19:15 EST by Tyler Faith on behalf of School of Social Science