Productivity-biodiversity relationships depend on the history of community assembly

Tadashi Fukami, Peter J Morin


Identification of the causes of productivity-species diversity relationships remains a central topic of ecological research. Different relations have been attributed to the influence of disturbance, consumers, niche specialization and spatial scale. One unexplored cause is the history of community assembly, the partly stochastic sequential arrival of species from a regional pool of potential community members. The sequence of species arrival can greatly affect community structure. If assembly sequence interacts with productivity to influence diversity, different sequences can contribute to variation in productivity-diversity relationships. Here we report a test of this hypothesis by assembling aquatic microbial communities at five productivity levels using four assembly sequences. About 30 generations after assembly, productivity-diversity relationships took various forms, including a positive, a hump-shaped, a U-shaped and a non-significant pattern, depending on assembly sequence. This variation resulted from idiosyncratic joint effects of assembly sequence, productivity and species identity on species abundances. We suggest that the history of community assembly should be added to the growing list of factors that influence pr...Continue Reading


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