Testing the facilitation-competition paradigm under the stress-gradient hypothesis: decoupling multiple stress factors

Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Takashi Kawai, Mutsunori Tokeshi


While the facilitation-competition paradigm under the stress-gradient hypothesis has received recent attention, its rigorous testing is yet to be explored. Most of the studies have considered a switch in the net interactions from competition to facilitation with increasing environmental stress as primary evidence supporting the hypothesis, though few studies examined changes in interaction along a full range of a stress gradient. Here, we have conceptualized possible variations in the patterns of change in interaction strength along such gradient. Based on this, we empirically evaluated the temporal shift in the interaction between two marine sessile animals, goose barnacles (Capitulum mitella) and mussels (Septifer virgatus), under multiple stress factors. The net effect of goose barnacles on mussel survivorship was positively related to the total stress gradient encompassing two stress factors, physical disturbance and thermal stress, while no negative value occurred even under mild conditions. When the two stress factors were treated separately, however, the net effect demonstrated apparently different patterns: monotonic increase with physical disturbance versus a quasi-asymptotic pattern (no change over a wide range) with ...Continue Reading


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