Document Detail

Scale-dependent interactions and community structure on cobble beaches.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  16958867     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Recent theory suggests that scale-dependent interaction between facilitation and competition can generate spatial structure in ecological communities. The application of this hypothesis, however, has been limited to systems with little underlying heterogeneity. We evaluated this prediction in a plant community along an intertidal stress gradient on cobble beaches in Rhode Island, USA. Prior studies have shown that Spartina alterniflora facilitates a forb-dominated community higher in the intertidal by modifying the shoreline environment. We tested the hypothesis that, at a smaller scale, Spartina competitively excludes forb species, explaining their marked absence within the lower Spartina zone. Transplant experiments showed forb species grow significantly better in the Spartina zone when neighbours were removed. Removal of the Spartina canopy led to a massive emergence of annual forbs, showing that competition limits local occupation. These findings indicate that interaction of large-scale facilitation and small-scale competition drives plant zonation on cobble beaches. This study is the first to provide empirical evidence of scale-dependent interactions between facilitation and competition spatially structuring communities in heterogeneous environments.
Johan van de Koppel; Andrew H Altieri; Brian R Silliman; John F Bruno; Mark D Bertness
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Letter; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecology letters     Volume:  9     ISSN:  1461-0248     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2006 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2006-09-08     Completed Date:  2006-11-30     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101121949     Medline TA:  Ecol Lett     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  45-50     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Chenopodiaceae / physiology*
Oceans and Seas
Plumbaginaceae / physiology*
Poaceae / physiology*
Rhode Island
Seedling / physiology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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