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New paper on metacommunity dynamics

DSC_0069In this new paper in this month’s issue of “Ecology” we show how interactions between long term disturbance regime and patch isolation determine diversity patterns in rock pool metacommunities. It’s the final paper that integrates the different processes I studied in the Korannaberg rock pool cluster in South Africa during my PhD. It combines information from dispersal measurements and reconstructions of the hydrological disturbance regime of each of the pools and uses this information to investigate how variation in dispersal influx and disturbance regime affect diversity patterns and patterns of community structure. We found support for the predicted hump shaped relationship between dispersal rates and local species richness, but only in habitats with an intense disturbance regime. Disturbance reduced local diversity, but only when dispersal rates were low (in isolated patches) indicative of a negative synergy. In turn, local richness also decreased in well connected patches, possibly due to a higher abundance of generalist – and disturbance tolerant – predators in these patches.

The paper can be accessed via the journal’s website