DOI: 10.1101/484576Dec 3, 2018Paper

Directionality and community-level selection

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Guy Bunin


Many ecological community dynamics display some degree of directionality, known as succession patterns. But complex interaction networks frequently tend to non-directional dynamics such as chaos, unless additional structures or mechanisms impose some form of, often fragile or shot-lived, directionality. We exhibit here a novel property of emergent long-lasting directionality in competitive communities, which relies on very minimal assumptions. We model communities where each species has a few strong competitive interactions, and many weak ones. We find that, at high enough diversity, the dynamics become directional, meaning that the community state can be characterized by a function that increases in time, which we call "maturity". In the presence of noise, the community composition changes toward increasingly stable and productive states. This scenario occupies a middle ground between deterministic succession and purely random species associations: there are many overlapping stable states, with stochastic transitions, that are nevertheless biased in a particular direction. When a spatial dimension is added in the form of a meta-community, higher-maturity community states are able to expand in space, replacing others by (exact ...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Spatial Distribution
Anatomical Space Structure
Meta Analysis (Statistical Procedure)

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