Biotic interactions are an unexpected yet critical control on the complexity of an abiotically driven polar ecosystem

Charles K Lee, Daniel C Laughlin, Eric M Bottos, Tancredi Caruso, Kurt Joy, John E Barrett, Lars Brabyn, Uffe N Nielsen, Byron J Adams, Diana H Wall, David W Hopkins, Stephen B Pointing, Ian R McDonald, Don A Cowan, Jonathan C Banks, Glen A Stichbury, Irfon Jones, Peyman Zawar-Reza, Marwan Katurji, Ian D Hogg & 4 others Ashley D Sparrow, Bryan C Storey, T G Allan Green, S Craig Cary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Abiotic and biotic factors control ecosystem biodiversity, but their relative contributions remain unclear. The ultraoligotrophic ecosystem of the Antarctic Dry Valleys, a simple yet highly heterogeneous ecosystem, is a natural laboratory well-suited for resolving the abiotic and biotic controls of community structure. We undertook a multidisciplinary investigation to capture ecologically relevant biotic and abiotic attributes of more than 500 sites in the Dry Valleys, encompassing observed landscape heterogeneities across more than 200 km2. Using richness of autotrophic and heterotrophic taxa as a proxy for functional complexity, we linked measured variables in a parsimonious yet comprehensive structural equation model that explained significant variations in biological complexity and identified landscape-scale and fine-scale abiotic factors as the primary drivers of diversity. However, the inclusion of linkages among functional groups was essential for constructing the best-fitting model. Our findings support the notion that biotic interactions make crucial contributions even in an extremely simple ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalCommunications biology
Volume2
Early online date15 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPrint publication - 15 Feb 2019

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Ecosystem
Biota
Structural Models
Biodiversity
Proxy

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Ecological modelling
  • Ecosystem services
  • Food web

Cite this

Lee, Charles K ; Laughlin, Daniel C ; Bottos, Eric M ; Caruso, Tancredi ; Joy, Kurt ; Barrett, John E ; Brabyn, Lars ; Nielsen, Uffe N ; Adams, Byron J ; Wall, Diana H ; Hopkins, David W ; Pointing, Stephen B ; McDonald, Ian R ; Cowan, Don A ; Banks, Jonathan C ; Stichbury, Glen A ; Jones, Irfon ; Zawar-Reza, Peyman ; Katurji, Marwan ; Hogg, Ian D ; Sparrow, Ashley D ; Storey, Bryan C ; Allan Green, T G ; Cary, S Craig. / Biotic interactions are an unexpected yet critical control on the complexity of an abiotically driven polar ecosystem. In: Communications biology. 2019 ; Vol. 2.
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abstract = "Abiotic and biotic factors control ecosystem biodiversity, but their relative contributions remain unclear. The ultraoligotrophic ecosystem of the Antarctic Dry Valleys, a simple yet highly heterogeneous ecosystem, is a natural laboratory well-suited for resolving the abiotic and biotic controls of community structure. We undertook a multidisciplinary investigation to capture ecologically relevant biotic and abiotic attributes of more than 500 sites in the Dry Valleys, encompassing observed landscape heterogeneities across more than 200 km2. Using richness of autotrophic and heterotrophic taxa as a proxy for functional complexity, we linked measured variables in a parsimonious yet comprehensive structural equation model that explained significant variations in biological complexity and identified landscape-scale and fine-scale abiotic factors as the primary drivers of diversity. However, the inclusion of linkages among functional groups was essential for constructing the best-fitting model. Our findings support the notion that biotic interactions make crucial contributions even in an extremely simple ecosystem.",
keywords = "Biodiversity, Ecological modelling, Ecosystem services, Food web",
author = "Lee, {Charles K} and Laughlin, {Daniel C} and Bottos, {Eric M} and Tancredi Caruso and Kurt Joy and Barrett, {John E} and Lars Brabyn and Nielsen, {Uffe N} and Adams, {Byron J} and Wall, {Diana H} and Hopkins, {David W} and Pointing, {Stephen B} and McDonald, {Ian R} and Cowan, {Don A} and Banks, {Jonathan C} and Stichbury, {Glen A} and Irfon Jones and Peyman Zawar-Reza and Marwan Katurji and Hogg, {Ian D} and Sparrow, {Ashley D} and Storey, {Bryan C} and {Allan Green}, {T G} and Cary, {S Craig}",
year = "2019",
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language = "English",
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Lee, CK, Laughlin, DC, Bottos, EM, Caruso, T, Joy, K, Barrett, JE, Brabyn, L, Nielsen, UN, Adams, BJ, Wall, DH, Hopkins, DW, Pointing, SB, McDonald, IR, Cowan, DA, Banks, JC, Stichbury, GA, Jones, I, Zawar-Reza, P, Katurji, M, Hogg, ID, Sparrow, AD, Storey, BC, Allan Green, TG & Cary, SC 2019, 'Biotic interactions are an unexpected yet critical control on the complexity of an abiotically driven polar ecosystem', Communications biology, vol. 2, 62. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-018-0274-5

Biotic interactions are an unexpected yet critical control on the complexity of an abiotically driven polar ecosystem. / Lee, Charles K; Laughlin, Daniel C; Bottos, Eric M; Caruso, Tancredi; Joy, Kurt; Barrett, John E; Brabyn, Lars; Nielsen, Uffe N; Adams, Byron J; Wall, Diana H; Hopkins, David W; Pointing, Stephen B; McDonald, Ian R; Cowan, Don A; Banks, Jonathan C; Stichbury, Glen A; Jones, Irfon; Zawar-Reza, Peyman; Katurji, Marwan; Hogg, Ian D; Sparrow, Ashley D; Storey, Bryan C; Allan Green, T G; Cary, S Craig.

In: Communications biology, Vol. 2, 62, 15.02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Biotic interactions are an unexpected yet critical control on the complexity of an abiotically driven polar ecosystem

AU - Lee, Charles K

AU - Laughlin, Daniel C

AU - Bottos, Eric M

AU - Caruso, Tancredi

AU - Joy, Kurt

AU - Barrett, John E

AU - Brabyn, Lars

AU - Nielsen, Uffe N

AU - Adams, Byron J

AU - Wall, Diana H

AU - Hopkins, David W

AU - Pointing, Stephen B

AU - McDonald, Ian R

AU - Cowan, Don A

AU - Banks, Jonathan C

AU - Stichbury, Glen A

AU - Jones, Irfon

AU - Zawar-Reza, Peyman

AU - Katurji, Marwan

AU - Hogg, Ian D

AU - Sparrow, Ashley D

AU - Storey, Bryan C

AU - Allan Green, T G

AU - Cary, S Craig

PY - 2019/2/15

Y1 - 2019/2/15

N2 - Abiotic and biotic factors control ecosystem biodiversity, but their relative contributions remain unclear. The ultraoligotrophic ecosystem of the Antarctic Dry Valleys, a simple yet highly heterogeneous ecosystem, is a natural laboratory well-suited for resolving the abiotic and biotic controls of community structure. We undertook a multidisciplinary investigation to capture ecologically relevant biotic and abiotic attributes of more than 500 sites in the Dry Valleys, encompassing observed landscape heterogeneities across more than 200 km2. Using richness of autotrophic and heterotrophic taxa as a proxy for functional complexity, we linked measured variables in a parsimonious yet comprehensive structural equation model that explained significant variations in biological complexity and identified landscape-scale and fine-scale abiotic factors as the primary drivers of diversity. However, the inclusion of linkages among functional groups was essential for constructing the best-fitting model. Our findings support the notion that biotic interactions make crucial contributions even in an extremely simple ecosystem.

AB - Abiotic and biotic factors control ecosystem biodiversity, but their relative contributions remain unclear. The ultraoligotrophic ecosystem of the Antarctic Dry Valleys, a simple yet highly heterogeneous ecosystem, is a natural laboratory well-suited for resolving the abiotic and biotic controls of community structure. We undertook a multidisciplinary investigation to capture ecologically relevant biotic and abiotic attributes of more than 500 sites in the Dry Valleys, encompassing observed landscape heterogeneities across more than 200 km2. Using richness of autotrophic and heterotrophic taxa as a proxy for functional complexity, we linked measured variables in a parsimonious yet comprehensive structural equation model that explained significant variations in biological complexity and identified landscape-scale and fine-scale abiotic factors as the primary drivers of diversity. However, the inclusion of linkages among functional groups was essential for constructing the best-fitting model. Our findings support the notion that biotic interactions make crucial contributions even in an extremely simple ecosystem.

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Ecological modelling

KW - Ecosystem services

KW - Food web

U2 - 10.1038/s42003-018-0274-5

DO - 10.1038/s42003-018-0274-5

M3 - Article

VL - 2

JO - Communications biology

JF - Communications biology

SN - 2399-3642

M1 - 62

ER -