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The evolution of the competition– dispersal trade-off affects alpha-and beta-diversity in a heterogeneous metacommunity

Abstract : Difference in dispersal ability is a key driver of species coexistence in metacommunities. However, the available frameworks for interpreting species diversity patterns in natura often overlook trade-offs and evolutionary constraints associated with dispersal. Here,we build a metacommunity model accounting for dispersal evolution and a competition-dispersal trade-off. Depending on the distribution of carrying capacities among communities, species dispersal values are distributed either around a single strategy (evolutionarily stable strategy, ESS), or around distinct strategies (evolutionary branching, EB). We show that limited dispersal generates spatial aggregation of dispersal traits in ESS and EB scenarios, and that the competition-dispersal trade-off strengthens the pattern in the EB scenario. Importantly, individuals in larger (respectively (resp.) smaller) communities tend to harbour lower (resp. higher) dispersal, especially under the EB scenario.We explore how dispersal evolution affects species diversity patterns by comparing those from our model to the predictions of a neutral metacommunity model. The most marked difference is detected under EB, with distinctive values of both alpha and beta diversity (e.g. the dissimilarity in species composition between small and large communities was significantly larger than neutral predictions). We conclude that, from an empirical perspective, jointly assessing community carrying capacity with species dispersal strategies should improve our understanding of diversity patterns in metacommunities.
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Fabien Laroche, Philippe Jarne, Thomas Perrot, Francois Massol. The evolution of the competition– dispersal trade-off affects alpha-and beta-diversity in a heterogeneous metacommunity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2016, 283 (1829), pp.20160548. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2016.0548⟩. ⟨hal-01344735⟩

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