Ellen J. Weerman

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Theoretical models predict that spatial self-organization can have important, unexpected implications by affecting the functioning of ecosystems in terms of resilience and productivity. Whether and how these emergent effects depend on specific formulations of the underlying mechanisms are questions that are often ignored. Here, we compare two alternative(More)
Recently, Lévy walks have been put forward as a new paradigm for animal search and many cases have been made for its presence in nature. However, it remains debated whether Lévy walks are an inherent behavioural strategy or emerge from the animal reacting to its habitat. Here, we demonstrate signatures of Lévy behaviour in the search movement of mud snails(More)
In this study, we investigated the emergence of spatial self-organized patterns on intertidal flats, resulting from the interaction between biological and geomorphological processes. Autocorrelation analysis of aerial photographs revealed that diatoms occur in regularly spaced patterns consisting of elevated hummocks alternating with water-filled hollows.(More)
Regular, self-organized spatial patterns in primary producers have been described in a wide range of ecosystems and are predicted to affect community production and resilience. Although consumers are abundant in most systems, the effect of trophic interactions on pattern formation in primary producers remains unstudied. We studied the effects of top-down(More)
Theoretical models highlight that spatially self-organized patterns can have important emergent effects on the functioning of ecosystems, for instance by increasing productivity and affecting the vulnerability to catastrophic shifts. However, most theoretical studies presume idealized homogeneous conditions, which are rarely met in real ecosystems. Using(More)
Self-organized spatial patterns have been proposed as possible indicators for regime shifts in ecosystems. Until now, this hypothesis has only been tested in drylands. Here, we focus on intertidal mudflats where regular spatial patterns develop in early spring from the interaction between diatom growth and sedimentation but disappear when benthic herbivore(More)
Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a(More)
Increasing evidence shows that spatial interactions between sedentary organisms can structure communities and promote landscape complexity in many ecosystems. Here we tested the hypothesis that reef-forming mussels (Mytilus edulis L.), a dominant intertidal ecosystem engineer in the Wadden Sea, promote abundances of the burrowing bivalve Cerastoderma edule(More)
The importance of positive effects of ecosystem engineers on associated communities is predicted to increase with environmental stress. However, incorporating such non-trophic interactions into ecological theory is not trivial because facilitation of associated species is conditional on both the type of engineer and the type of abiotic stress. We tested the(More)
Natural ecosystems can show regular spatial vegetation patterns, which develop from small-scale ecological interactions. Some studies suggest that grazers can play a major role in controlling vegetation distribution in ecosystems with regular vegetation patterns, but the distribution of grazers and the effects of grazing on vegetation in spatially patterned(More)
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