Author(s): Keitt TH, Fischer J
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Abstract The response of ecological communities to anthropogenic disturbance is of both scientific and practical interest. Communities where all species respond to disturbance in a similar fashion (synchrony) will exhibit large fluctuations in total biomass and dramatic changes in ecosystem function. Communities where some species increase in abundance while others decrease after disturbance (compensation) can maintain total biomass and ecosystem function in the face of anthropogenic change. We examined dynamics of the Little Rock Lake (Wisconsin, USA) zooplankton community in the context of an experimental pH manipulation conducted in one basin of the lake. A novel application of wavelets was used to partition patterns of synchrony and compensation by time scale. We find interestingly that some time series show both patterns of synchrony and compensation depending on the scale of analysis. Within the unmanipulated basin, we found subtle patterns of synchrony and compensation within the community, largely at a one-year time scale corresponding to seasonal variation. Within the acidified lake basin, dynamics shifted to longer time scales corresponding to the pattern of pH manipulation. Comparisons between pairs of species in different functional groups showed both strong compensatory and synchronous responses to disturbance. The strongest compensatory signal was observed for two species of Daphnia whose life history traits lead to synchrony at annual time scales, but whose differential sensitivity to acidification led to compensation at multiannual time scales. The separation of time scales inherent in the wavelet method greatly facilitated interpretation as patterns resulting from seasonal drivers could be separated from patterns driven by pH manipulation.
This article was published in Ecology
and referenced in Forest Research: Open Access