Quantifying long-term plant community dynamics with movement models: implications for ecological resilience

Ecological Applications : a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Sumanta BagchiKarthik Murthy

Abstract

Quantification of rates and patterns of community dynamics is central for understanding the organization and function of ecosystems. These insights may support a greater empirical understanding of ecological resilience, and the application of resilience concepts toward ecosystem management. Distinct types of dynamics in natural communities can be used to interpret and apply resilience concepts, but quantitative methods that can systematically distinguish among them are needed. We develop a quantitative method to analyze long-term records of plant community dynamics using principles of movement ecology. We analyzed dissimilarity of species composition through time with linear and nonlinear statistical models to assign community change to four classes of movement trajectories. Compositional change in each sampled plot through time was classified into four classes, stability, abrupt nonlinear change, transient reversible change, and gradual linear drift, each representing a different aspect of ecological resilience. These competing models were evaluated based on estimated coefficients, goodness of fit, and parsimony. We tested our method's accuracy and robustness through simulations, or the ability to distinguish among trajectorie...Continue Reading

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Citations

Jan 28, 2020·Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences·Virginia Iglesias, Cathy Whitlock
Sep 12, 2018·PeerJ·Cho-Ying HuangStuart E Marsh
May 23, 2018·Trends in Ecology & Evolution·Zak RatajczakMonica G Turner

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