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(Reference retrieved automatically from Web of Science through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Drivers of individual niche variation in coexisting species

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Costa-Pereira, Raul [1, 2, 3] ; Rudolf, Volker H. W. [3] ; Souza, Franco L. [4] ; Araujo, Marcio S. [1]
Total Authors: 4
[1] Univ Estadual Paulista UNESP, Inst Biociencias, Rio Claro, SP - Brazil
[2] UNESP, Programa Posgrad Ecol & Biodiversidade, Rio Claro, SP - Brazil
[3] Rice Univ, BioSci, Houston, TX - USA
[4] Univ Fed Mato Grosso do Sul, Inst Biociencias, Campo Grande, MS - Brazil
Total Affiliations: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Journal of Animal Ecology; v. 87, n. 5, p. 1452-1464, SEP 2018.
Web of Science Citations: 10

Although neglected by classic niche theory, individual variation is now recognized as a prevalent phenomenon in nature with evolutionary and ecological relevance. Recent theory suggests that differences in individual variation across competitors can affect species coexistence and community patterns. However, the degree of individual variation is flexible across wild populations and we still know little about the ecological drivers of this variation across populations of single species and, especially, across coexisting species. Here, we aimed to (a) elucidate the major drivers of individual niche variation in natural communities and (b) to determine how consistent this variation is across coexisting species and communities. We analysed natural patterns of individual-level niche variation in four species of coexisting generalist frogs across a wide range of tropical communities. Specifically, we used gut contents and stable isotopes (C-13 and N-15) from frog species and their prey to quantify individual niche specialization. Then, we combined data on local community structure, availability of prey, phylogenetic relationships and predator-prey size models to test how this variation is related to four ecological factors which are predicted to be key drivers of individual specialization: intraspecific competition, interspecific competition, ecological opportunity (i.e., diversity of resources) and predation. We found that the degree of individual trophic specialization varied by up to ninefold across populations within the same species. This sizable variation in trophic specialization across populations was at least partially explained by gradients of density of competitors (both conspecifics and heterospecifics) and intraguild predation. However, the specific relationships between individual specialization and these ecological gradients were strongly species-specific. As consequences, the identity of the species with more individual variation changed among sites and there was typically no spatial correlation in the degree of individual specialization across coexisting species. Our results show that individual niche specialization within and across species can be strongly context-dependent and that hierarchies of individual variation among coexisting species are not necessarily consistent across communities. Recent theory suggests that this pattern could lead to concurrent changes in competitive interactions across sites and thereby could play a key role in species coexistence at the landscape level. Our results suggest that individual variation across and within coexisting species has the potential to affect not only species coexistence at local communities, but also regional diversity patterns. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/20069-6 - The dimensionality of individual niche variation in coexisting species
Grantee:Raul Costa Pereira
Support type: Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 10/15567-8 - Causes and consequences of individual specialization in Poecilia vivipara (Cyprinodontiformes, Poeciliidae)
Grantee:Márcio Silva Araújo
Support type: Research Grants - Young Investigators Grants
FAPESP's process: 14/20924-5 - Revisiting the diversity paradox: does intraspecific ecological variation facilitate species coexistence?
Grantee:Raul Costa Pereira
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
FAPESP's process: 16/09038-9 - Rebuilding community ecology from individuals: Consequences of intraspecific ecological diversity on species coexistence and community assembly
Grantee:Raul Costa Pereira
Support type: Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate