We have a new paper just accepted for publication!
Fronhofer E.A.*, Klecka J.*, Melián C.J. & Altermatt F., 2015: Condition-dependent movement and dispersal in experimental metacommunities. Ecology Letters, in press.
* equal contribution
It’s not yet available online, so in the meantine check out the preprint: bioRxiv 017954. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/017954)
Here is the abstract:
Dispersal, and the underlying movement behaviour, are processes of pivotal importance for understanding and predicting metapopulation and metacommunity dynamics. Generally, dispersal decisions are condition-dependent and rely on information in the broad sense, like the presence of conspecifics. However, studies on metacommunities that include interspecific interactions generally disregard condition-dependence. Therefore, it remains unclear whether and how dispersal in metacommunities is condition-dependent and whether rules derived from single-species contexts can be scaled up to (meta-)communities. Using experimental protist metacommunities, we show how dispersal and movement depend on and are adjusted by the strength of inter-specific interactions. We found that predicting movement and dispersal in metacommunities requires knowledge on behavioural responses to intra- and inter-specific interaction strengths. Consequently, metacommunity dynamics inferred directly from single-species metapopulations without taking inter-specific interactions into account are likely flawed. Our work identifies the significance of condition-dependence for understanding metacommunity dynamics, stability and the coexistence and distribution of species.