Pinto N, Keitt TH
. Scale-dependent responses to forest cover displayed by frugivore bats
. Oikos [Internet]. 117 :1725–1731. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Despite vast evidence of species turnover displayed by Neotropical bat communities in response to forest fragmentation, the exact shape of the relationship between fragment area and abundance for individual bat species is still unclear. Bats' ample variation in diet, morphology, and movement behaviour can potentially influence species' perception of the landscape. Thus, studies describing fragment area at a single spatial scale may fail to capture the amount of forest available from the perspective of individual bat species. In the present paper, we study the influence of forest cover on bats inhabiting a fragmented forest in Mexico, focusing on some of the most common frugivore species: Artibeus jamaicensis, Carollia spp. (C. brevicauda/C. perspicillata) and Sturnira spp. (S. lilium/S. ludovici). We quantified forest cover at scales ranging from 50 to 2000 m, and measured the influence of forest cover on bat capture success, a surrogate for abundance. The three species displayed positive and significant scale-dependent associations with forest cover. Abundance of A. jamaicensis increased with forest cover measured at scales ranging between 500 and 2000 m, while Carollia spp. responded more strongly to variation in forest cover measured at scales 100-500 m. For Sturnira spp., abundance was a function of presence of creeks near mist-netting sites, and amount of secondary forest present at a 200 m scale. The observed variation in responses to forest cover can be explained in light of interspecific differences in diet, home range, and body size. Our results illustrate a method for measuring the effect of forest fragmentation on mobile species and suggest that changes in abundance in fragmented landscapes emerge from the interaction between species' traits and landscape structure.
Brooks CP, Antonovics J, Keitt TH
. Spatial and Temporal Heterogeneity Explain Disease Dynamics in a Spatially Explicit Network Model
. The American Naturalist [Internet]. 172 :149–159. Publisher's VersionAbstract
There is an increasing recognition that individual-level spatial and temporal heterogeneity may play an important role in metapopulation dynamics and persistence. In particular, the patterns of contact within and between aggregates (e.g., demes) at different spatial and temporal scales may reveal important mechanisms governing metapopulation dynamics. Using 7 years of data on the interaction between the anther smut fungus (Microbotryum violaceum) and fire pink (Silene virginica), we show how the application of spatially explicit and implicit network models can be used to make accurate predictions of infection dynamics in spatially structured populations. Explicit consideration of both spatial and temporal organization reveals the role of each in spreading risk for both the host and the pathogen. This work suggests that the application of spatially explicit network models can yield important insights into how heterogeneous structure can promote the persistence of species in natural landscapes.
Downing AL, Brown BL, Perrin EM, Keitt TH, Leibold MA
. Environmental flucutations induce scale-dependent compensation and increase stability in plankton ecosystems
. Ecology. 89 :3204–3214.Abstract
The temporal stability of aggregate community and ecosystem properties is influenced by the variability of component populations, the interactions among populations, and the influence of environmental fluctuations on populations. Environmental fluctuations that enhance population variability are generally expected to destabilize community and ecosystem properties, but this will depend on the degree to which populations are synchronized in their dynamics. Here we use seminatural experimental ponds to show that reduced synchrony among zooplankton taxa increases the temporal stability of zooplankton density, abundance, and ecosystem productivity influctuating environments. However, asynchrony only occurs at long timescales (similar to 80-day periods) and under recurring environmental perturbations. At shorter timescales (similar to 10-day periods) and in constant environments, synchronous dynamics dominate. Our findings support recent theory indicating that compensatory dynamics can stabilize communities and ecosystems. They further indicate that environmental fluctuations can enhance the likelihood of long-period asynchrony and thus stabilize community and ecosystem properties despite their short term destabilizing effects.
. Coherent ecological dynamics induced by large-scale disturbance
. Nature [Internet]. 454 :331–334. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Aggregate community-level response to disturbance is a principle concern in ecology because post-disturbance dynamics are integral to the ability of ecosystems to maintain function in an uncertain world. Community-level responses to disturbance can be arrayed along a spectrum ranging from synchronous oscillations where all species rise and fall together, to compensatory dynamics where total biomass remains relatively constant despite fluctuations in the densities of individual species. An important recent insight is that patterns of synchrony and compensation can vary with the timescale of analysis and that spectral time series methods can enable detection of coherent dynamics that would otherwise be obscured by opposing patterns occurring at different scales. Here I show that application of wavelet analysis to experimentally manipulated plankton communities reveals strong synchrony after disturbance. The result is paradoxical because it is well established that these communities contain both disturbance-sensitive and disturbance-tolerant species leading to compensation within functional groups. Theory predicts that compensatory substitution of functionally equivalent species should stabilize ecological communities, yet I found at the whole-community level a large increase in seasonal biomass variation. Resolution of the paradox hinges on patterns of seasonality among species. The compensatory shift in community composition after disturbance resulted in a loss of cold-season dominants, which before disturbance had served to stabilize biomass throughout the year. Species dominating the disturbed community peaked coherently during the warm season, explaining the observed synchrony and increase in seasonal biomass variation. These results suggest that theory relating compensatory dynamics to ecological stability needs to consider not only complementarity in species responses to environmental change, but also seasonal complementarity among disturbance-tolerant and disturbance-sensitive species.