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Getting More by Asking for Less: Linking Species Interactions to Species Co-Distributions in Metacommunitiesuse asterix (*) to get italics
Matthieu Barbier, Guy Bunin, Mathew A. LeiboldPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>AbstractOne of the more difficult challenges in community ecology is inferring species interactions on the basis of patterns in the spatial distribution of organisms. At its core, the problem is that distributional patterns reflect the ‘realized niche’, the net result of a complex interplay of processes involving dispersal, environmental, and interaction effects. Disentangling these effects can be difficult on at least two distinct levels. From a statistical point of view, splitting a population’s variation into contributions from its interaction partners, abiotic environment and spatial proximity requires ‘natural experiments’ where all three factors somehow vary independently from each other. On a more theoretical level, it is not even clear how to meaningfully separate these processes: for instance, species interactions could depend in many ways on the state of the environment, and these two processes may combine in highly non-additive ways. Here we show that these issues arise almost unescapably, even in a simple theoretical setting designed to minimize them. Using a model of metacommunity dynamics where direct species interactions are assumed to be context-independent, we show that inferring these interactions accurately from cross-species correlations is a major challenge under all but the most restrictive assumptions. However, we also find that it is possible to estimate the statistical moments (mean value and variance) of the species interactions distribution much more robustly, even if the precise values cannot be inferred. Consequently, we argue that study of multi-species spatial patterns can still be informative for theoretical approaches that build on statistical distributions of species parameters to predict macroscopic outcomes of community assembly.</p>
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species distribution, biotic interactions, competition, metacommunity, inference
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Biogeography, Community ecology, Competition, Spatial ecology, Metacommunities & Metapopulations, Species distributions, Statistical ecology, Theoretical ecology
Tamara Münkemüller, Loïc Chalmandrier loic.chalmandrier@biologie.uni-, Giovanni Poggiato, Loïc Chalmandrier suggested: Heike Lischke -, Loïc Chalmandrier suggested: Daniel Stouffer -, Francois Massol suggested: Too many potential conflicts of interest with the authors (M. Leibold was my adviser during my post-doc and I have a paper in review with M. Barbier)., Francois Massol suggested: Suggestions of referees:, Francois Massol suggested: * Fred De Laender, Francois Massol suggested: * Alan Hastings, Francois Massol suggested: * Sebastian Schreiber, Jorge García-Girón [] suggested: Dear Editor:, Jorge García-Girón [] suggested: I am extremely sorry to decline your invitation. I am under a lot of teaching exercises at the moment and will not be able to review the paper in due time., Jorge García-Girón [] suggested: You can kindly consider my former supervisor Dr. Jani Heino ( as an alternative referee for this piece. , Jorge García-Girón [] suggested: Sincerely yours,, Jorge García-Girón [] suggested: Jorge, Daniel Stouffer suggested: Hao Ran Lai (, Daniel Stouffer suggested: Malyon Bimler (, Alan Hastings [] suggested: Not sure. I am collaborating with one of the authors. , Malyon Bimler suggested: Dr Daniel Stouffer No need for them to be recommenders of PCIEcology. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
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2023-10-21 14:14:16
François Munoz