Dominance structure of assemblages is regulated over a period of rapid environmental change
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Ecological assemblages are inherently uneven, with numerically dominant species contributing disproportionately to ecosystem services. Marked biodiversity change due to growing pressures on the world's ecosystems is now well documented. However, the hypothesis that dominant species are becoming relatively more abundant has not been tested. We examined the prediction that the dominance structure of contemporary communities is shifting, using a meta-analysis of 110 assemblage timeseries. Changes in relative and absolute dominance were evaluated with mixed and cyclic-shift permutation models. Our analysis uncovered no evidence of a systematic change in either form of dominance, but established that relative dominance is preserved even when assemblage size (total N) changes. This suggests that dominance structure is regulated alongside richness and assemblage size, and highlights the importance of investigating multiple components of assemblage diversity when evaluating ecosystem responses to environmental drivers.
Jones , F A M & Magurran , A E 2018 , ' Dominance structure of assemblages is regulated over a period of rapid environmental change ' , Biology Letters , vol. 14 , no. 6 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0187
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0187
DescriptionF.A.M.J. is financed by the School of Biology, University of St Andrews. A.E.M. acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERCAdG BioTIME 250189 and ERCPoC BioCHANGE 727440).
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