It is widely reported that the productivity-richness relation (PRR) is highly variable, and several field studies suggest that the PRR varies with observational scale. Here we provide the first experimental study to test whether the PRR is scale-dependent when all replicate ecosystems have similar initial conditions. We also test the relation between productivity and compositional dissimilarity, and whether the PRR varies with ecosystem size. Moderately complex replicated microcosms were assembled consisting of a range of protozoa, algae, and a diverse bacterial flora. We found that the PRR of protozoan and algal communities varied with observational scale, but was unrelated to ecosystem size. Specifically, protozoan and algal richness increased monotonically with productivity at the local scale, but became flattened at the regional scale. This varying PRR at different scales occurred because dissimilarity among replicates decreased with productivity. Thus, in this model system, our experimental approach found a different form of scale dependence than previous field research. We speculate that this difference results from different processes governing extinctions at low levels of productivity.
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Madhur Anand, CAN (forest ecology, computational ecology, and ecological complexity)
S. Bagella, ITA (temporal dynamics, including succession, community level patterns of species richness and diversity, experimental studies of plant, animal and microbial communities, plant communities of the Mediterranean)
P. Batáry, HUN (landscape ecology, agroecology, ecosystem services)
P. A. V. Borges, PRT (community level patterns of species richness and diversity, sampling in theory and practice)
A. Davis, GER (supervised learning, multitrophic interactions, food webs, multivariate analysis, ecological statistics, experimental design, fractals, parasitoids, species diversity, community assembly, ticks, biodiversity, climate change, biological networks, cranes, olfactometry, evolution)
Z. Elek, HUN (insect ecology, invertebrate conservation, population dynamics, especially of long-term field studies, insect sampling)
T. Kalapos, HUN (community level plant ecophysiology, grassland ecology, vegetation-soil relationship)
G. M. Kovács, HUN (microbial ecology, plant-fungus interactions, mycorrhizas)
W. C. Liu,TWN (community-based ecological theory and modelling issues, temporal dynamics, including succession, trophic interactions, competition, species response to the environment)
L. Mucina, AUS (vegetation survey, syntaxonomy, evolutionary community ecology, assembly rules, global vegetation patterns, mediterranean ecology)
P. Ódor, HUN (plant communities, bryophyte ecology, numerical methods)
F. Rigal, FRA (island biogeography, macroecology, functional diversity, arthropod ecology)
D. Rocchini, ITA (biodiversity, multiple scales, spatial scales, species distribution, spatial ecology, remote sensing, ecological informatics, computational ecology)
F. Samu, HUN (landscape ecology, biological control, generalist predators, spiders, arthropods, conservation biology, sampling methods)