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Predicting stochastic community dynamics in grasslands under the assumption of competitive symmetry

Abstract : Community dynamics is influenced by multiple ecological processes such as environmental spatiotemporal variation, competition between individuals and demographic stochasticity. Quantifying the respective influence of these various processes and making predictions on community dynamics require the use of a dynamical framework encompassing these various components. We here demonstrate how to adapt the framework of stochastic community dynamics to the peculiarities of herbaceous communities, by using a short temporal resolution adapted to the time scale of competition between herbaceous plants, and by taking into account the seasonal drops in plant aerial biomass following winter, harvesting or consumption by herbivores. We develop a hybrid inference method for this novel modelling framework that both uses numerical simulations and likelihood computations. Applying this methodology to empirical data from the Jena biodiversity experiment, we find that environmental stochasticity has a larger effect on community dynamics than demographic stochasticity, and that both effects are generally smaller than observation errors at the plot scale. We further evidence that plant intrinsic growth rates and carrying capacities are moderately predictable from plant vegetative height, specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content. We do not find any trade-off between demographical components, since species with larger intrinsic growth rates tend to also have lower demographic and environmental variances. Finally, we find that our model is able to make relatively good predictions of multi-specific community dynamics based on the assumption of competitive symmetry
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01852731
Déposant : Import Ws Irstea <>
Soumis le : jeudi 2 août 2018 - 11:06:47
Dernière modification le : mercredi 20 mai 2020 - 20:41:01
Archivage à long terme le : : samedi 3 novembre 2018 - 13:38:20

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T. Lohier, F. Jabot, A. Weigelt, B. Schmid, G. Deffuant. Predicting stochastic community dynamics in grasslands under the assumption of competitive symmetry. Journal of Theoretical Biology, Elsevier, 2016, 399, pp.53-61. ⟨10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.03.043⟩. ⟨hal-01852731⟩

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