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Environmental changes define ecological limits to species richness and reveal the mode of macroevolutionary competition

Environmental changes define ecological limits to species richness and reveal the mode of macroevolutionary competition
Environmental changes define ecological limits to species richness and reveal the mode of macroevolutionary competition
Co-dependent geological and climatic changes obscure how species interact in deep time. The interplay between these environmental factors makes it hard to discern whether ecological competition exerts an upper limit on species richness. Here, using the exceptional fossil record of Cenozoic Era macroperforate planktonic foraminifera, we assess the evidence for alternative modes of macroevolutionary competition. Our models support an environmentally dependent macroevolutionary form of contest competition that yields finite upper bounds on species richness. Models of biotic competition assuming unchanging environmental conditions were overwhelmingly rejected. In the best-supported model, temperature affects the per-lineage diversification rate, while both temperature and an environmental driver of sediment accumulation defines the upper limit. The support for contest competition implies that incumbency constrains species richness by restricting niche availability, and that the number of macroevolutionary niches varies as a function of environmental changes.
Beverton–Holt, contest competition, diversification, diversity-dependence, ecological limits, microfossil, Ricker, scramble competition
1461-023X
899-906
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Purvis, Andy
ea5716f3-8fdf-4275-8c67-578005614348
Ezard, Thomas H.G.
a143a893-07d0-4673-a2dd-cea2cd7e1374
Purvis, Andy
ea5716f3-8fdf-4275-8c67-578005614348

Ezard, Thomas H.G. and Purvis, Andy (2016) Environmental changes define ecological limits to species richness and reveal the mode of macroevolutionary competition. Ecology Letters, 19 (8), 899-906. (doi:10.1111/ele.12626).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Co-dependent geological and climatic changes obscure how species interact in deep time. The interplay between these environmental factors makes it hard to discern whether ecological competition exerts an upper limit on species richness. Here, using the exceptional fossil record of Cenozoic Era macroperforate planktonic foraminifera, we assess the evidence for alternative modes of macroevolutionary competition. Our models support an environmentally dependent macroevolutionary form of contest competition that yields finite upper bounds on species richness. Models of biotic competition assuming unchanging environmental conditions were overwhelmingly rejected. In the best-supported model, temperature affects the per-lineage diversification rate, while both temperature and an environmental driver of sediment accumulation defines the upper limit. The support for contest competition implies that incumbency constrains species richness by restricting niche availability, and that the number of macroevolutionary niches varies as a function of environmental changes.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 May 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 9 June 2016
Published date: 9 June 2016
Keywords: Beverton–Holt, contest competition, diversification, diversity-dependence, ecological limits, microfossil, Ricker, scramble competition
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science, Centre for Biological Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 396682
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/396682
ISSN: 1461-023X
PURE UUID: 805ea630-ecce-477b-86c0-480bd120e4d9
ORCID for Thomas H.G. Ezard: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8305-6605

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 Jun 2016 10:35
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:37

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