A potential role for rare species in ecosystem dynamics

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Title: A potential role for rare species in ecosystem dynamics
Authors: Säterberg, TorbjörnJonsson, TomasYearsley, Jonathan M.et al.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10959
Date: 31-Jul-2019
Online since: 2019-08-07T13:24:53Z
Abstract: The ecological importance of common species for many ecosystem processes and functions is unquestionably due to their high abundance. Yet, the importance of rare species is much less understood. Here we take a theoretical approach, exposing dynamical models of ecological networks to small perturbations, to explore the dynamical importance of rare and common species. We find that both species types contribute to the recovery of communities following generic perturbations (i.e. perturbations affecting all species). Yet, when perturbations are selective (i.e. affects only one species), perturbations to rare species have the most pronounced effect on community stability. We show that this is due to the strong indirect effects induced by perturbations to rare species. Because indirect effects typically set in at longer timescales, our results indicate that the importance of rare species may be easily overlooked and thus underrated. Hence, our study provides a potential ecological motive for the management and protection of rare species.
Funding Details: Science Foundation Ireland
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Journal: Scientific reports
Volume: 9
Issue: Article number 11107
Copyright (published version): 2019 the Authors
Keywords: Ecological modellingEcological networksFood websTheoretical ecology
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47541-6
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Biology & Environmental Science Research Collection
Earth Institute Research Collection

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