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Flood disturbance and predator–prey effects on regional gradients in species diversity

Mori, Terutaka, Saitoh, Takashi
Ecology 2014 v.95 no.1 pp. 132-141
Bayesian theory, aquatic invertebrates, environmental factors, predator-prey relationships, predators, scrapers, species diversity, Japan
The effects of both abiotic factors and biotic interactions among guilds (i.e., inter‐guild effects) have been suggested to be important for understanding spatial variation in species diversity; however, compared to the abiotic effects, the processes by which the inter‐guild effects are mediated have been little described. Hence, we investigated stream invertebrate assemblages on Hokkaido Island, Japan, and assessed how the processes of determining regional patterns in species diversity differed among guilds (collector‐filterers, collector‐gatherers/shredders, scrapers, and predators) by taking both inter‐guild and abiotic effects into consideration using Bayesian networks. Collector‐gatherers/shredders, collector‐filterers, and predators exhibited significant regional gradients in taxonomic richness. Gradients in the former two guilds can be generated by variation in flood disturbance regardless of interactions with other guilds. The gradient in predator taxonomic richness was indirectly related to the disturbance and was directly generated by bottom‐up effects through their prey (collector‐gatherers/shredders and collector‐filterers). We found that not only environmental factors, but also inter‐guild effects may be essential for forming the regional gradient in predators, unlike those for collector‐gatherers/shredders and collector‐filterers. The processes underlying the regional variation in taxonomic richness of the three guilds are interpreted in terms of the “more individuals” hypothesis, facilitation, and predator–prey relationships.