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Narrowing down on size distribution patterns underlying species co-existence in Baltic Sea phytoplankton
Poster Title: Narrowing down on size distribution patterns underlying species co-existence in Baltic Sea phytoplankton
Submitted on 24 Feb 2014
Author(s): Andrea S. Downing, S. Hajdu, O. Hjerne, S. Otto, U. Larsson, T. Blenckner, M. Winder
Affiliations: 1) Dep. Ecology, Environment and Plant sciences, Stockholm University 2)Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
Poster Views: 1,138
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Poster Information
Abstract: Scale is key to determining which processes drive community structure. We analyse size distributions of phytoplankton to determine time-scales at which we can observe either fixed environmental characteristics underlying communities structure (i.e. fundamental niches) or competition-driven size distributions (realised niches). Using multiple statistical tests, we characterise size distributions of phytoplankton from 20-year time series in two sites of the Baltic Sea. At large temporal scales (5-20 years), size distributions are unimodal, indicating that fundamental barriers to existence – if present – are here subtler than in other systems. Weighted size-distributions are multimodal over large time scales, though this is the product of often unimodal short-term (<1 year) patterns. Our study represents the highest resolution analysis yet of phytoplankton size-distributions and reveals that short term analyses are necessary to determine if, and how, competition shapes them. Our results provide a stepping-stone on which to further investigate the intricacies of competition and co-existence. Summary: We look for signs of discontinuities in size distributions of phytoplankton to identify where niche processes operate. Using time series from the Baltic Sea we use multiple techniques to differentiate between fundamental and realised niches. Surprisingly, we found no systematic discontinuites, pushing us to reconsider and re-interpret previous findings.References: Adler, P. B., J. Hillerislambers, and J. M. Levine. 2007. A niche for neutrality. Ecology letters 10:95–104.

Allen, C. R., A. S. Garmestani, T. D. Havlicek, P. A. Marquet, G. D. Peterson, C. Restrepo, C. A. Stow, and B. E. Weeks. 2006. Patterns in body mass distributions: sifting among alternative hypotheses. Ecology letters 9:630–43.

Barabás, G., R. D’Andrea, R. Rael, G. Meszéna, and A. Ostling. 2013. Emergent neutrality or hidden niches? Oikos 122:1565–1572.

Chave, J
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