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Drought mediates the importance of stochastic community assembly

Summary: Drought mediates the importance of stochastic
community assembly
Jonathan M. Chase*
Deptartment of Biology, Washington University, Box 1229, St. Louis, MO 63130
Edited by James H. Brown, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, and approved September 12, 2007 (received for review May 9, 2007)
Historically, the biodiversity and composition of species in a local-
ity was thought to be influenced primarily by deterministic factors.
In such cases, species' niches create differential responses to
environmental conditions and interspecific interactions, which
combine to determine that locality's biodiversity and species com-
position. More recently, proponents of the neutral theory have
placed a premium on how stochastic factors, such as birth, death,
colonization, and extinction (termed ``ecological drift'') influence
diversity and species composition in a locality independent of their
niches. Here, I develop the hypothesis that the relative importance
of stochastic ecological drift and/or priority effects depend on the
harshness of the ecological filter in those habitats. I established
long-term experimental ponds to explore the relative importance
of community assembly history and drought on patterns of com-
munity compositional similarity among ponds that were otherwise


Source: Azevedo, Ricardo - Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology