Vieira, Edson A.
Flores, Augusto A. V.
Dias, Gustavo M.
Total Authors: 3
 Univ Estadual Campinas UNICAMP, Programa Posgrad Ecol, Inst Biol, Campinas, SP - Brazil
 Univ Sao Paulo, Ctr Biol Marinha, Sao Sebastiao - Brazil
 Univ Fed ABC UFABC, Ctr Ciencias Nat & Humanas, Sao Bernardo Do Campo - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 3
ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION;
Web of Science Citations:
Community assembly may not follow predictable successional stages, with a large fraction of the species pool constituted by potential pioneering species and successful founders defined through lottery. In such systems, priority effects may be relevant in the determination of trajectories of developing communities and hence diversity and assemblage structure at later advanced states. In order to assess how different founder species may trigger variable community trajectories and structures, we conducted an experimental study using subtidal sessile assemblages as model. We manipulated the identity of functionally different founders and initial colony size (a proxy of the time lag before the arrival of later species), and followed trajectories. We did not observe any effects of colony size on response variables, suggesting that priority effects take place even when the time lag between the establishment of pioneering species and late colonizers is very short. Late community structure at experimental panels that started either with the colonial ascidian Botrylloides nigrum, or the arborescent bryozoan Bugula neritina, was similar to control panels allowed natural assembling. In spite of high potential for fast space domination, and hence negative priority effects, B.nigrum suffered high mortality and did not persist throughout succession. Bugula neritina provided complex physical microhabitats through conspecific clustering that have enhanced larval settlement of late species arrivals, but no apparent facilitation was observed. Differently, panels founded by the encrusting bryozoan Schizoporella errata led to different and less diverse communities compared to naturally assembled panels, evidencing strong negative priority effects through higher persistence and space preemption. Schizoporella errata founder colonies inhibited further conspecific settlement, which may greatly relax intraspecific competition, allowing resource allocation to colony growth and space domination, thus reducing the chances for the establishment of other species. (AU)