Effects of different dispersal patterns on the presence-absence of multiple species
Predicting which species will be present (or absent) across a geographical region remains one of the key problems in ecology. Numerous studies have suggested several ecological factors that can determine species presence-absence: environmental factors (i.e. abiotic environments), interactions among species (i.e. biotic interactions) and dispersal process. While various ecological factors have been considered, less attention has been given to the problem of understanding how different dispersal patterns, in interaction with other factors, shape community assembly in the presence of priority effects (i.e. where relative initial abundances determine the long-term presence-absence of each species). By employing both local and non-local dispersal models, we investigate the consequences of different dispersal patterns on the occurrence of priority effects and coexistence in multi-species communities. In the case of non-local, but short-range dispersal, we observe agreement with the predictions of local models for weak and medium dispersal strength, but disagreement for relatively strong dispersal levels. Our analysis shows the existence of a threshold value in dispersal strength (i.e. saddle-node bifurcation) above which priority effects disappear. These results also reveal a co-dimension 2 point, corresponding to a degenerate transcritical bifurcation: at this point, the transcritical bifurcation changes from subcritical to supercritical with corresponding creation of a saddle-node bifurcation curve. We observe further contrasting effects of non-local dispersal as dispersal distance changes: while very long-range dispersal can lead to species extinctions, intermediate-range dispersal can permit more outcomes with multi-species coexistence than short-range dispersal (or purely local dispersal). Overall, our results show that priority effects are more pronounced in the non-local dispersal models than in the local dispersal models. Taken together, our findings highlight the profound delicacy in the mediation of priority effects by dispersal processes: “big steps” can have more influence than many “small steps”.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordslocal and non-local dispersal; biotic and abiotic factors; priority effects; coexistence; Mathematical Physics
Fields of Research0602 Ecology
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