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Title
Predator dispersal determines the effect of connectivity on prey diversity
AuthorLimberger, Romana ; Wickham, Stephen A.
Published in
PLoS One, Lawrence, 2011, Vol. 6, page 1-9
PublishedPublic Library of Science, 2011
LanguageEnglish
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)Predation / Species extinction / Copepods / Death rates / Species diversity / Paramecium / Predator-prey dynamics / Population genetics
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-1763 Persistent Identifier (URN)
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0029071 
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 The work is publicly available
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Predator dispersal determines the effect of connectivity on prey diversity [0.34 mb]
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Abstract (English)

Linking local communities to a metacommunity can positively affect diversity by enabling immigration of dispersal-limited species and maintenance of sink populations. However, connectivity can also negatively affect diversity by allowing the spread of strong competitors or predators. In a microcosm experiment with five ciliate species as prey and a copepod as an efficient generalist predator, we analysed the effect of connectivity on prey species richness in metacommunities that were either unconnected, connected for the prey, or connected for both prey and predator. Presence and absence of predator dispersal was cross-classified with low and high connectivity. The effect of connectivity on local and regional richness strongly depended on whether corridors were open for the predator. Local richness was initially positively affected by connectivity through rescue of species from stochastic extinctions. With predator dispersal, however, this positive effect soon turned negative as the predator spread over the metacommunity. Regional richness was unaffected by connectivity when local communities were connected only for the prey, while predator dispersal resulted in a pronounced decrease of regional richness. The level of connectivity influenced the speed of richness decline, with regional species extinctions being delayed for one week in weakly connected metacommunities. While connectivity enabled rescue of prey species from stochastic extinctions, deterministic extinctions due to predation were not overcome through reimmigration from predatorfree refuges. Prey reimmigrating into these sink habitats appeared to be directly converted into increased predator abundance. Connectivity thus had a positive effect on the predator, even when the predator was not dispersing itself. Our study illustrates that dispersal of a species with strong negative effects on other community members shapes the dispersaldiversity relations

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CC-BY-License (4.0)Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License