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Reversal in the relationship between species richness and turnover in a phytoplankton community

Publikationsart Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)
Publikationsdatum 2012
Autor/in Matthews Blake, Pomati Francesco,
Projekt Food-web and ecosystem responses to global change: testing ecological theory in aquatic mesocosms
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Originalbeitrag (peer-reviewed)

Zeitschrift Ecology
Volume (Issue) 93(11)
Seite(n) 2435 - 2447
Titel der Proceedings Ecology
DOI 10.1890/11-2289.1


Negative relationships between species richness and the rate of compositional turnover are common, suggesting that diverse communities have greater stability than depauperate ones; however, the mechanistic basis for this pattern is still widely debated. Species richness and turnover can covary either because they are mechanistically linked or because they share common environmental drivers. Few empirical studies have combined long-term changes in community composition with multiple drivers of environmental change, and so little is known about how the underlying mechanisms of species coexistence interact with changes in the mean and variability of environmental conditions. Here, we use a 33 year long time series (1976-2008) of phytoplankton community composition from Lake Zurich, to examine how environmental variation influences the relationship between richness and annual turnover. We find that the relationship between richness and annual turnover reverses midway through the time series (1992-1993), leading to a hump-shaped relationship between species richness and annual turnover. Using structural equation modeling we show that annual turnover and diversity are independently associated with different drivers of environmental change. Furthermore, we find that the observed annual sequences of community assembly give rise to rates of species accumulation that are more heterogeneous through time than expected by chance, likely owing to a high proportion of species showing significant autocorrelation and to strong positive covariation in the occurrences of species.