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Body size and dispersal mode as key traits determining metacommunity structure of aquatic organisms

De Bie, T. and De Meester, L. and Brendonck, L. and Martens, K. and Goddeeris, B. and Ercken, D. and Hampel, H. and Denys, L. and Vanhecke, L. and Van der Gucht, K. and Van Wichelen, J. and Vyverman, W. and Declerck, S.A.J. (2012) Body size and dispersal mode as key traits determining metacommunity structure of aquatic organisms. Ecology Letters, 15, 740-747. ISSN 1461-023X.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01794.x

Abstract

Relationships between traits of organisms and the structure of their metacommunities have so far mainly been explored with meta-analyses. We compared metacommunities of a wide variety of aquatic organism groups (12 groups, ranging from bacteria to fish) in the same set of 99 ponds to minimise biases inherent to meta-analyses. In the category of passive dispersers, large-bodied groups showed stronger spatial patterning than small-bodied groups suggesting an increasing impact of dispersal limitation with increasing body size. Metacommunities of organisms with the ability to fly (i.e. insect groups) showed a weaker imprint of dispersal limitation than passive dispersers with similar body size. In contrast, dispersal movements of vertebrate groups (fish and amphibians) seemed to be mainly confined to local connectivity patterns. Our results reveal that body size and dispersal mode are important drivers of metacommunity structure and these traits should therefore be considered when developing a predictive framework for metacommunity dynamics.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:10252
Deposited On:11 Apr 2012 02:00
Last Modified:22 Aug 2013 11:54

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