Dispersal mode and spatial extent influence distance-decay patterns in pond metacommunities

Tornero et al. (2018) – Plos ONE, 13:e0203119.
By means of the distance-decay relationship, we compared the relative role of the local environmental structuring and the regional control in pond metacommunities with different spatial extent. We tested it by studying the community similarity among three biotic groups with different dispersal modes (macrofaunal active and passive dispersers and plants) from two pond networks largely differing in extent. Overall, we found that environmental distance had larger effects than geographical distances in both pond networks. Species sorting is the main type of metacommunity dynamics shaping all biotic groups in a large network, but when spatial extend is smaller differences arise among biotic groups. While the distance-decay patterns of active dispersers better fit the trend expected under mass effect dynamics, passive dispersers suggest the prevalence of a species sorting pattern.

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