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The metacommunity concept is an important way to think about linkages between different spatial scales in ecology. Here we review current understanding about this concept. We first investigate issues related to its definition as a set of local communities that are linked by dispersal of multiple potentially interacting species. We then identify four(More)
The cycles of the key nutrient elements nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) have been massively altered by anthropogenic activities. Thus, it is essential to understand how photosynthetic production across diverse ecosystems is, or is not, limited by N and P. Via a large-scale meta-analysis of experimental enrichments, we show that P limitation is equally(More)
Although trophic cascades (indirect effects of predators on plants via herbivores) occur in a wide variety of food webs, the magnitudes of their effects are often quite variable. We compared the responses of herbivore and plant communities to predator manipulations in 102 field experiments in six different ecosystems: lentic (lake and pond), marine, and(More)
Until recently, large apex consumers were ubiquitous across the globe and had been for millions of years. The loss of these animals may be humankind's most pervasive influence on nature. Although such losses are widely viewed as an ethical and aesthetic problem, recent research reveals extensive cascading effects of their disappearance in marine,(More)
Synergistic interactions between multiple limiting resources are common, highlighting the importance of co-limitation as a constraint on primary production. Our concept of resource limitation has shifted over the past two decades from an earlier paradigm of single-resource limitation towards concepts of co-limitation by multiple resources, which are(More)
Communities of organisms form as a result of both interspecific and abiotic interactions within local habitat patches and dispersal among patches in a region. Local processes are expected to play a dominant role when dispersal occurs much more often than extinction. We 5 performed two field experiments to examine rates and mechanisms of dispersal in(More)
The concept of trophic levels is one of the oldest in ecology and informs our understanding of energy flow and top-down control within food webs, but it has been criticized for ignoring omnivory. We tested whether trophic levels were apparent in 58 real food webs in four habitat types by examining patterns of trophic position. A large proportion of taxa(More)
Dispersal can limit the ranges of species and the diversity of communities. Despite its importance, little is known about its role in freshwater habitats and its relation to habitat type (lentic vs. lotic), especially for organisms with cryptic dispersal methods such as plankton. Poor dispersers are expected to show more clumped distributions or greater(More)
Ecologists have greatly advanced our understanding of the processes that regulate trophic structure and dynamics in ecosystems. However, the causes of systematic variation among ecosystems remain controversial and poorly elucidated. Contrasts between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in particular have inspired much speculation, but only recent empirical(More)
This study explores the consequences of predator-mediated coexistence among competitors for patterns of incidence and diversity at local and regional scales. We develop a model that draws on elements of metapopulation models of competitors and food chains by allowing competitors to coexist locally in the presence of predators but not in their absence. The(More)