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Clumpy coexistence in phytoplankton: The role of functional similarity in community assemblyuse asterix (*) to get italics
Caio Graco-Roza, Angel M. Segura, Carla Kruk, Patricia Domingos, Janne Soininen, Marcelo M. MarinhoPlease 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 style="text-align: justify;">Emergent neutrality (EN) suggests that species must be sufficiently similar or sufficiently different in their niches to avoid interspecific competition. Such a scenario results in a transient pattern with clumps and gaps of species abundance along the niche axis (e.g., represented by body size). From this perspective, clumps are groups of coexisting species with negligible fitness differences and stochastic abundance fluctuations. Plankton is an excellent model system for developing and testing ecological theories, especially those related to size structure and species coexistence. We tested EN predictions using the phytoplankton community along the course of a tropical river considering (i) body size structure, (ii) functional clustering of species in terms of morphology-based functional groups (MBFG), and (iii) the functional similarity among species concerning their functional traits. Two main clumps in the body size axis (clump I and II) were conspicuous through time and were detected in different stretches of the river. Clump I comprised medium-sized species from the MBFGs IV, V, and VI while clump II included large-bodied species from the MBFGs V and VI. Pairwise differences in species biovolume correlated with species functional similarity when the whole species pool was considered, but not among species within the same clump. Although clumps comprised multiple MBFGs, the dominant species within the clump belonged always to the same MBFG. Also, within-clump species biovolume increased with functional distinctiveness considering both seasons and stretches, except the lower course. These results suggest that species within clumps behave in a quasi-neutral state, but even minor shifts in trait composition may affect species biovolume. Our findings point that EN belongs to the plausible mechanisms explaining community assembly in river ecosystems.</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https://
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species coexistence; emergent neutrality; functional distinctiveness; functional differences
Coexistence, Community ecology, Theoretical ecology
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2020-01-23 16:11:32
Cédric Hubas