Process-based species pools reveal the hidden signature of biotic interactions amid the influence of temperature filtering

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Jean-Philippe Lessard, Ben G. Weinstein, Michael Krabbe Borregaard, Katharine Ann Marske, Danny R. Martin, Jimmy A. McGuire, Juan L. Parra, Carsten Rahbek, Catherine H. Graham

A persistent challenge in ecology is to tease apart the in-fluence of multiple processes acting simultaneously and interacting in complex ways to shape the structure of species assemblages. We implement a heuristic approach that relies on explicitly defining spe-cies pools and permits assessment of the relative influence of themain processes thought to shape assemblage structure: environmental fil-tering, dispersal limitations, and biotic interactions. We illustrate our approach using data on the assemblage composition and geographic distribution of hummingbirds, a comprehensive phylogeny and mor-phological traits. The implementation of several process-based species pool definitions in null models suggests that temperature-but not pre-cipitation or dispersal limitation-acts as the main regional filter of as-semblage structure. Incorporating this environmental filter directly into the definition of assemblage-specific species pools revealed an other-wise hidden pattern of phylogenetic evenness, indicating that biotic in-teractions might further influence hummingbird assemblage structure. Such hidden patterns of assemblage structure call for a reexamination of a multitude of phylogenetic-and trait-based studies that did not ex-plicitly consider potentially important processes in their definition of the species pool. Our heuristic approach provides a transparent way to explore patterns and refine interpretations of the underlying causes of assemblage structure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe American Naturalist
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)75-88
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Community assembly, Dispersal limitation, Niche differentiation, Regional species pool, Scale

ID: 154745633