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The importance of biotic interactions in abundance: Occupancy relationships

The importance of biotic interactions in abundance: Occupancy relationships

Journal of Animal Ecology 71(5): 846-854

ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8790

DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2656.2002.00650.x

1. Metapopulation dynamics have been postulated as a possible mechanism giving rise to positive interspecific relationships between local abundance and regional occupancy. These may operate through the carrying capacity or the rescue effect hypotheses. However, both are based on single species models that sum independent occurrences of species to form an assemblage, ignoring interspecific interactions. 2. Here we test experimentally whether interspecific interactions and dispersal influence the formation of the abundance-occupancy relationship in metapopulation systems in laboratory microcosms containing protists and bacteria. 3. The effect of species interactions was tested by comparison of the abundance-occupancy relationship in multiple habitat patch systems containing all species together, with the relationship formed by combining data from equivalent systems containing each protist species alone. 4. Abundance-occupancy relationships in interacting communities were better defined than those in non-interacting communities. The inclusion of interspecific interactions was found to cause a reduction in the abundance and occupancy of the majority of species, as a consequence of which the position of species within the relationship changed drastically.

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Accession: 011515514

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