J. van de Koppel
- Top-down control inhibits spatial self-organization of a patterned landscape
- Volume | Issue number
- 92 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
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 control by herbivores on a self-organized landscape of regularly spaced, diatom-covered hummocks alternating with water-filled hollows on an intertidal mudflat in The Netherlands. Spatial patterns developed during spring but were followed by a rapid collapse in summer, leading to a flat landscape with low diatom densities and little variation in sediment bed level. This dramatic decline co-occurred with a gradual increase of benthic herbivores. A manipulative field experiment, where benthic herbivores were removed from the sediment, revealed that both diatom growth and hummock formation were inhibited by the activity of benthic herbivores. Our study provides clear evidence of top-down control of spatial self-organized patterns by benthic herbivores within a biological-geomorphic landscape.
Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/10-0270.1
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.