NCEAS Project 3920

The Meta-Community Concept: A framework for large scale community ecology?

  • Mathew A. Leibold

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group6th—13th July 2001Participant List  
Working Group7th—13th March 2002Participant List  
Working Group20th—29th September 2002Participant List  
Working Group17th—19th June 2003Participant List  

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Abstract
The concept of meta-communities was developed in an effort to link community ecology theory at the local level with regional and global models at larger spatial scales. Currently there are two contrasting views of meta-communities. The "patch-dynamics" perspective is based on the idea that similar local habitat patches are colonized by species that interact to produce communities consisting of different species depending on their dispersal abilities. In contrast, the "species-sorting" view assumes that sites differ in their abiotic environment, causing interacting species to sort themselves differently along gradients depending on their competitive abilities at different sites. The first view ignores local population dynamics and therefore allows for non-equilibrial abundances but it ignores intrinsic heterogeneity among local sites. The second view is generally modeled using equilibrium models of local population dynamics but accounts for heterogeneity among sites. Empirical evidence suggests that both of these approaches are useful for understanding patterns in real communities. Thus there is a need for a more synthetic approach. We propose to form a collaborative group to work on such a synthesis. Our goal is to explore what happens when both sets of metacommunity processes occur. We hope to use this synthetic approach to explore their roles in regulating phenomena such as the trophic structure, patterns of diversity and composition along environmental gradients and the role of regional processes such as dispersal in ecosystem processes.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Amarasekare, Priyanga; Hoopes, Martha F.; Mouquet, Nicolas; Holyoak, Marcel. 2004. Mechanisms of coexistence in competitive metacommunities. American Naturalist. Vol: 164. Pages 310-326.
Book Chapter Chase, Jonathan M.; Amarasekare, Priyanga; Cottenie, Karl; Gonzalez, Andrew; Holt, Robert D.; Holyoak, Marcel; Hoopes, Martha F.; Leibold, Mathew A.; Loreau, Michel; Mouquet, Nicolas; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Tilman, David. 2005. Competing theories for competitive metacommunities. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 335-354.
Book Chapter Cottenie, Karl; De Meester, Luc. 2005. Local interactions and local dispersal in a zooplankton metacommunity. Edited by Holyoak, M.; Leibold, M.; Holt, R.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 189-211.
Book Chapter Holt, Robert D.; Hoopes, Martha F. 2005. Food web dynamics in a metacommunity context. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 68-93.
Book Chapter Holt, Robert D.; Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A. 2005. Future directions in metacommunity ecology. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 465-489.
Book Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D. 2005. Metacommunities: Spatial dynamics and ecological communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 513.
Book Chapter Hoopes, Martha F.; Holt, Robert D.; Holyoak, Marcel. 2005. The effects of spatial processes on two species interactions. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 35-67.
Book Chapter Law, Richard; Leibold, Mathew A. 2005. Assembly dynamics in metacommunities. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 263-278.
Journal Article Leibold, Mathew A.; Holyoak, Marcel; Mouquet, Nicolas; Amarasekare, Priyanga; Chase, Jonathan M.; Hoopes, Martha F.; Holt, Robert D.; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Law, Richard; Tilman, David; Loreau, Michel; Gonzalez, Andrew. 2004. The metacommunity concept: A framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecology Letters. Vol: 7. Pages 601-613.
Journal Article Leibold, Mathew A.; McPeek, Mark A. 2006. Coexistence of the niche and neutral perspectives in community ecology. Ecology. Vol: 87(6). Pages 1399-1410.
Journal Article Loreau, Michel; Mouquet, Nicolas; Holt, Robert D. 2003. Meta-ecosystems: a theoretical framework for a spatial ecosystem ecology. Ecology Letters. Vol: 6. Pages 673-679.
Journal Article Loreau, Michel; Holt, Robert D. 2004. Spatial flows and the regulation of ecosystems. American Naturalist. Vol: 163. Pages 606-615.
Book Chapter Mouquet, Nicolas; Hoopes, Martha F.; Amarasekare, Priyanga. 2005. The world is patchy and heterogeneous!. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 237-262.
Book Chapter Resetarits, W. J.; Binckley, Christopher A.; Chalcraft, David R. 2005. Habitat selection, species interactions, and processes of community assembly in complex landscapes. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 374-398.
Journal Article Shurin, Jonathan B.; Amarasekare, Priyanga; Chase, Jonathan M.; Holt, Robert D.; Hoopes, Martha F.; Leibold, Mathew A. 2004. Alternative stable states and regional community structure. Journal of Theoretical Biology. Vol: 227(3). Pages 359-368.
Book Chapter Shurin, Jonathan B.; Srivastava, Diane S. 2005. New perspectives on local and regional diversity. Edited by Holyoak, Marcel; Leibold, Mathew A.; Holt, Robert D.. Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. Pages 399-417.
Journal Article Steiner, Christopher F.; Leibold, Mathew A. 2004. Cyclic assembly trajectories and scale-dependent productivity-diversity relationships. Ecology. Vol: 85. Pages 107-113.