Borthagaray A.I.,University for Development |
Borthagaray A.I.,University of the Republic of Uruguay |
Borthagaray A.I.,Santo Tomas University of Chile |
Barreneche J.M.,University of Santiago de Chile |
And 5 more authors.
Ecography | Year: 2014
A common property of landscapes and metacommunities is the occurrence of abrupt shifts in connectivity along gradients of individual dispersal abilities. Animals with short-range dispersal capability perceive fragmented landscapes, but organisms moving across critical thresholds perceive continuous landscapes. This qualitative shift in landscape perception may determine several attributes of local communities and the dynamics of whole metacommunities. Modularity describes the existence in some communities of relatively high numbers of mutual connections favoring the movement of neighboring individuals (even when each individual is able to reach any patch in the landscape). Local patch linkages and metacommunity connectivity along gradients of dispersal ability have been reported frequently. However, the intermediate level of structure captured by modularity has not been considered. We evaluated landscape connectivity and modularity along gradients of individual dispersal abilities. Random landscapes with different degrees of cell aggregation and occupancy were simulated; we also analyzed ten real ecosystems. An expected, a shift in landscape connectivity was always detected; modularity consistently decreased gradually along dispersal gradients in both simulated networks and empirical landscapes. Neutral metacommunities within simulated landscapes demonstrated that modularity and connectivity may reflect landscape traits in the shaping of metacommunity diversity. Average beta-diversity was strongly associated with modularity, particularly with low migration rates, while connectivity trends tracked changes in beta-diversity at intermediate to high migrations rates. Consequently, while some species are able to perceive abrupt transitions in the landscape, many others probably experience a gradual continuum in landscape perception, contrary to predictions from previous analyses. Furthermore, the gradual behavior of modularity indicates that it may represent an exceptional early-warning tool that measures system distance to tipping points. Our study highlights the multiple perceptions that different species may have of a single landscape and shows, for the first time, a theoretical and empirical relationship between landscape modularity, and metacommunity diversity. © 2013 The Authors.
Molina-Montenegro M.A.,Catolica del Norte University |
Molina-Montenegro M.A.,University of La Serena |
Palma-Rojas C.,University of Concepcion |
Alcayaga-Olivares Y.,Catolica del Norte University |
And 6 more authors.
Ecography | Year: 2013
Plasticity and local adaptation have been suggested as two main mechanisms that alien species use to successfully tolerate and invade broad geographic areas. In the present study, we try answer the question if the mechanism for the broad distributional range of T. officinale is for phenotypic plasticity, ecotypic adaptation or both. For this, we used individuals of T. officinale originated from seeds collected in five localities along its latitudinal distribution range in the southern-hemisphere. Seedlings were acclimated at 5 and 25°C for one month. After the acclimation period we evaluated ecophysiological and cytogenetic traits. Additionally, we assessed the fitness at each temperature by recording the seed output of individuals from different localities. Finally, we performed a manipulative experiment in order to assess the tolerance to herbivory and competitive ability between T. officinale from all origins and Hypochaeris scorzonerae a co-occurring native species. Overall, individuals of T. officinale showed high plasticity and ecotypic adaptation for all traits assessed in this study. Changes both in physiology and morphology observed in T. officinale from different origins were mostly correlated, enhancing their ecophysiological performance in temperatures similar to those of their origin. Additionally, all localities showed the same chromosome number and ploidy level. On the other hand, all individuals showed an increase the seed output at 25°C, but those from northern localities increased more. T. officinale from all origins was not significantly affected by herbivory while native showed a negative effect. On the other hand, T. officinale exerted a strong negative effect on the native species, but this former not effected significantly to the invasive T. officinale. High plasticity and local adaptation in all ecophysiological traits, seed-set and the low cytogenetic variability in T. officinale suggests that both strategies are present in this invasive plant species and are not mutually exclusive. Finally, higher tolerance to herbivory and competitive ability suggests that T. officinale could perform successfully in environments with different climatic conditions, and thus colonize and invade South-America. © 2012 The Authors.
Borthagaray A.I.,University of Santiago de Chile |
Borthagaray A.I.,Institute Of Ecologia Y Biodiversidad Ieb |
Arim M.,University of Santiago de Chile |
Arim M.,University of the Republic of Uruguay |
And 3 more authors.
Oikos | Year: 2012
Understanding the interaction between community structure and landscape structure represents a pressing theoretical challenge of great applied importance considering the increasing structural modification of ecosystems through habitat loss and fragmentation. Dispersal ability and energetic demands coupled to body size determine the landscape structure experienced by an organism, which could essentially be fragmented for small individuals but continuous for large ones. Although discontinuities in species assemblages have been predicted and detected, no explicit association between habitat structure and body size distributions has been demonstrated. In this contribution, we propose that body size structure in local communities should reflect such different perceptions of landscape structure. To this end, we explore this association in a simple metacommunity located in the Atacama Desert, in northern Chile. Using graph theory we found that species of different size and trophic position (carnivores and herbivores) perceive the landscape at contrasting spatial scales. In each community (n = 31) we determined the observed and the expected body size distributions - in a random sample from the metacommunity of 18 727 individuals -, which allowed us to identify the body sizes at which an overrepresentation or underrepresentation of individuals occur. Such aggregations and discontinuities in body sizes were related, for carnivores, to patch location within the landscape, and to the internal banded vegetation pattern within patches for herbivores. Our study shows, for the first time, an empirical connection between the spatial distribution of communities, their local attributes, and the existence and locations of discontinuities and aggregations in body size distributions. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2011 Nordic Society Oikos.
Garcia M.C.,University of Concepcion |
Garcia M.C.,Institute Of Ecologia Y Biodiversidad Ieb |
Bader M.Y.,University of Marburg |
Cavieres L.A.,University of Concepcion |
Cavieres L.A.,Institute Of Ecologia Y Biodiversidad Ieb
Oikos | Year: 2016
Environmental stress may favour facilitative interactions among plants but whether these interactions are positive for the benefactor and how this depends on stress factors, remains to be determined. We studied the effect of beneficiary cover and biomass on reproduction of the benefactor cushion plant Laretia acaulis (Apiaceae) in the central Chilean Andes during three years. Study sites were situated along an elevational gradient at 2600, 2800, 3000 and 3150 m a.s.l. This range comprises a cold- and a drought-stress gradient, with moisture increasing and temperature decreasing with elevation. We studied the effect of natural gradients in beneficiary cover and of experimental cover removal on cushion flower and fruit production. Beneficiary cover had a negative effect on flower production but not on infructescence and fruit densities or fruit weights. A positive effect of beneficiaries on the fraction of flowers converted into fruits was detected for hermaphrodite cushions. The effect of beneficiary cover on flowering was independent of elevation or cushion gender, although these latter factors explained most of the variation. Removing the aboveground parts of the beneficiaries positively affected flowering at 2800 m a.s.l. but not at the other elevations. Our results suggest negative effects of facilitation on L. acaulis flowering, but these are neutralized in fruit production. Surprisingly, this conclusion holds along the entire elevational or stress gradient. This suggests that this system of facilitation is evolutionarily stable and not very sensitive to environmental change. It remains to be tested, however, whether facilitation affects fitness via growth and long-term survival in these slow-growing alpine cushions. © 2016 Nordic Society Oikos.
Arim M.,University of the Republic of Uruguay |
Arim M.,University of Santiago de Chile |
Abades S.R.,University of Santiago de Chile |
Abades S.R.,Institute Of Ecologia Y Biodiversidad Ieb |
And 4 more authors.
Oikos | Year: 2010
Ulrich Brose Body size is recognized as an important determinant of trophic structure as it affects individual energetic demands, population density, and the interaction between potential prey and predators. However, its relationship with trophic position remains unclear. It has been hypothesized that a positive relationship between body size and trophic position would be associated to some particular trophic structures, which would allow larger organisms to satisfy their energetic demand and sustain viable population sizes at higher trophic positions, where fewer resources are available. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the diet of 619 killifishes from four species (Austrolebias cheradophilus, A. luteoflammulatus, A. viarius and Cynopoecilus melanotaenia), collected in temporary ponds occurring in the grasslands of Rocha, Uruguay. Trophic position, diet richness, number of energy sources, and evenness were estimated for 20 size classes, formed by consecutive groups of 31 individuals. Gape limitation and preference for the larger available prey were evaluated as explanations for observed patterns with an individual based model (IBM). In agreement with the hypothesis, killifishes presented a strong positive relationship between trophic position and body size (R2=0.86), associated with a trophic structure that could allow larger organisms to have access to more energy from the environment. This was reflected in a positive relationship between body size and 1) prey richness, 2) number of basal energy sources (i.e. plants, detritus, phytoplankton and terrestrial prey), and 3) evenness in prey use. IBM results showed that changes in trophic structure with body size are well explained by gape limitation, but not by size preferences. Our results suggest that the fulfilment of the greater energetic demands of larger organism will depend on community diversity, which typically increases with ecosystem size, indicating a novel connection between area, diversity, body size, and food chain length. © 2009 Oikos.