Spatial arrangement affects population dynamics and competition independent of community composition

Hart, Simon P. and Marshall, Dustin J. (2009) Spatial arrangement affects population dynamics and competition independent of community composition. Ecology, 90 6: 1485-1491. doi:10.1890/08-1813.1

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Author Hart, Simon P.
Marshall, Dustin J.
Title Spatial arrangement affects population dynamics and competition independent of community composition
Journal name Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0012-9658
Publication date 2009-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1890/08-1813.1
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 90
Issue 6
Start page 1485
End page 1491
Total pages 7
Editor Donald R Strong
J David Baldwin
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Language eng
Abstract Theory suggests that the spatial context within which species interactions occur will have major implications for the outcome of competition and ultimately, coexistence, but empirical tests are rare. This is surprising given that individuals of species in real communities are typically distributed nonrandomly in space. Nonrandom spatial arrangement has the potential to modify the relative strength of intra- and interspecific competition by changing the ratio of conspecific to heterospecific competitive encounters, particularly among sessile species where interactions among individuals occur on local scales. Here we test the influence of aggregated and random spatial arrangements on population trajectories of competing species in benthic, marine, sessile-invertebrate assemblages. We show that the spatial arrangement of competing species in simple assemblages has a strong effect on species performance: when conspecifics are aggregated, strong competitors perform poorly and weaker competitors perform better. The effect of specific spatial arrangements depends on species identity but is also strongly context dependent. When there are large differences in species competitive ability, aggregated spatial arrangements can slow competitive exclusion, and so nonrandom spatial arrangement can work synergistically with other trade-off based mechanisms to facilitate coexistence.
Keyword aggregation
intraspecific competition
interspecific competition
sessile invertebrate
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
Ecology Centre Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 32 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 36 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 11 Jul 2009, 02:34:53 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences