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Dominance structure of assemblages is regulated over a period of rapid environmental change

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  • Embargoed (until 13/06/19)

Abstract

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.
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Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology Letters
Volume14
Issue number6
Early online date13 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

    Research areas

  • Dominance, Time series, Assemblage, Biodiversity

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