Partitioning the impact of environmental drivers and species interactions in dynamic aquatic communities

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Date
2019-11-12
Authors
Musters, C. J. M.
Ieromina, Oleksandra
Barmentlo, S. Henrik
Hunting, Ellard R.
Schrama, Maarten
Cieraad, Ellen
Vijver, Martina G.
van Bodegom, Peter M.
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DOI
10.1002/ecs2.2910
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Keywords
abiotic
anthropogenic stressors
biotic
bottom‐up
random forest
seasonal change
trophic level
Abstract
Temperate aquatic communities are highly diverse and seasonally variable, due to internal biotic processes and environmental drivers, including human‐induced stressors. The impact of drivers on species abundance is supposed to differ fundamentally depending on whether populations are experiencing limitations, which may shift over the season. However, an integrated understanding of how drivers structure communities seasonally is currently lacking. In order to partition the effect of drivers, we used random forests to quantify interactions between all taxa and environmental factors using macrofaunal data from 18 agricultural ditches sampled over two years. We found that, over the agricultural season, taxon abundance became increasingly better predicted by the abundances of co‐occurring taxa and nutrients compared to other abiotic factors, including pesticides. Our approach provides fundamental insights in community dynamics and highlights the need to consider changes in species interactions to understand the effects of anthropogenic stressors.
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© The Author(s), 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Musters, C. J. M., Ieromina, O., Barmentlo, S. H., Hunting, E. R., Schrama, M., Cieraad, E., Vijver, M. G., & van Bodegom, P. M. Partitioning the impact of environmental drivers and species interactions in dynamic aquatic communities. Ecosphere, 10(11), (2019): e02910, doi:10.1002/ecs2.2910.
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Musters, C. J. M., Ieromina, O., Barmentlo, S. H., Hunting, E. R., Schrama, M., Cieraad, E., Vijver, M. G., & van Bodegom, P. M. (2019). Partitioning the impact of environmental drivers and species interactions in dynamic aquatic communities. Ecosphere, 10(11), e02910.
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