Mapping the imprint of biotic interactions on β-diversity

Abstract

Investigating how trophic interactions influence the β-diversity of meta-communities is of paramount importance to understanding the processes shaping biodiversity distribution. Here, we apply a statistical method for inferring the strength of spatial dependencies between pairs of species groups. Using simulated community data generated from a multi-trophic model, we showed that this method can approximate biotic interactions in multi-trophic communities based on β-diversity patterns across groups. When applied to soil multi-trophic communities along an elevational gradient in the French Alps, we found that fungi make a major contribution to the structuring of β-diversity across trophic groups. We also demonstrated that there were strong spatial dependencies between groups known to interact specifically (e.g. plant-symbiotic fungi,bacteria-nematodes) and that the influence of environment was less important than previously reported in the literature. Our method paves the way for a better understanding and mapping of multi-trophic communities through space and time.

Publication
Ecology Letters, 21, 1660-1669
Date