Higher-order interactions capture unexplained complexity in diverse communities

Mayfield, Margaret M. and Stouffer, Daniel B. (2017) Higher-order interactions capture unexplained complexity in diverse communities. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1 0062.1-0062.7. doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0062


Author Mayfield, Margaret M.
Stouffer, Daniel B.
Title Higher-order interactions capture unexplained complexity in diverse communities
Journal name Nature Ecology and Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2397-334X
Publication date 2017-02-17
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1038/s41559-016-0062
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 1
Start page 0062.1
End page 0062.7
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Abstract Natural communities are well known to be maintained by many complex processes. Despite this, the practical aspects of studying them often require some simplification, such as the widespread assumption that direct, additive competition captures the important details about how interactions between species impact community diversity. More complex non-additive ‘higherorder’ interactions are assumed to be negligible or absent. Notably, these assumptions are poorly supported and have major consequences for the accuracy with which patterns of natural diversity are modelled and explained. We present a mathematically simple framework for incorporating biologically meaningful complexity into models of diversity by including non-additive higher-order interactions. We further provide empirical evidence that such higher-order interactions strongly influence species’ performance in natural plant communities, with variation in seed production (as a proxy for per capita fitness) explained dramatically better when at least some higher-order interactions are considered. Our study lays the groundwork for a longoverdue shift in how species interactions are used to study the diversity of natural communities.
Keyword Biodiversity
Community ecology
Theoretical ecology
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
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Created: Fri, 24 Mar 2017, 16:20:20 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences