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Habitat selection behaviour links local and regional scales in aquatic systems

Resetarits, William J. Jr.
Ecology letters 2005 v.8 no.5 pp. 480-486
biodiversity, biogeography, biologists, ecologists, fish, habitats, landscapes, predators, selection response
The role of habitat selection behaviour in the assembly of natural communities is an increasingly important theme in ecology. At the same time, ecologists and conservation biologists are keenly interested in scale and how processes at scales from local to regional interact to determine species distributions and patterns of biodiversity. How important is habitat selection in generating observed patterns of distribution and diversity at multiple spatial scales? In theory, habitat selection in response to interacting species can generate both positive and negative covariances among species distributions and create the potential to link processes of community assembly across multiple scales. Here I demonstrate that habitat selection by treefrogs in response to the distribution of fish predators functions at both the regional scale among localities and the local scale among patches within localities, implicating habitat selection as a critical link between local communities and the regional dynamics of metacommunities in complex landscapes.