Resource limitation alters effects of phenological shifts on inter-specific competition

Abstract

Phenological shifts can alter the relative arrival time of competing species in natural communities, but predicting the consequences for species interactions and community dynamics is a major challenge. Here we show that differences in relative arrival time can lead to predictable priority effects that alter the outcome of competitive interactions. By experimentally manipulating the relative arrival time of two competing tadpole species across a resource gradient, we found that delaying relative arrival of a species reduced the interaction asymmetry between species and could even reverse competitive dominance. However, the strength of these priority effects was contingent on the abundance of the shared resource. Priority effects were generally weak when resources were limited, but increased at higher resource levels. Importantly, this context dependency could be explained by a shift in per capita interaction strength driven by a shift in relative body sizes of competitors. These results shed new light into the mechanisms that drive variation in priority effects and help predict consequences of phenological shifts across different environments.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Alford RA, Wilbur HM (1985) Priority effects in experimental pond communities: competition between Bufo and Rana. Ecology 66:1097–1105

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Chase JM (2003) Community assembly: when should history matter? Oecologia 136:489–498

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Chase JM (2010) Stochastic community assembly causes higher biodiversity in more productive environments. Science 328:1388–1391

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Chesson P (2000) Mechanisms of maintenance of species diversity. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 31:343

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cleland EE, Esch E, McKinney J (2015) Priority effects vary with species identity and origin in an experiment varying the timing of seed arrival. Oikos 124:33–40

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Connell JH, Slatyer RO (1977) Mechanisms of succession in natural communities and their role in community stability and organization. Am Nat 111:1119–1144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Drake JA (1991) Community-assembly mechanics and the structure of an experimental species ensemble. Am Nat 137:1–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Fukami T (2015) Historical contingency in community assembly: integrating niches, species pools, and priority effects. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 46:1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Geange SW, Stier AC (2009) Order of arrival affects competition in two reef fishes. Ecology 90:2868–2878

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Geange SW, Stier AC (2010) Priority effects and habitat complexity affect the strength of competition. Oecologia 163:111–118

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Goldberg DE, Rajaniemi T, Gurevitch J, Stewart-Oaten A (1999) Empirical approaches to quantifying interaction intensity: competition and facilitation along productivity gradients. Ecology 80:1118–1131

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Hernandez JP, Chalcraft DR (2012) Synergistic effects of multiple mechanisms drive priority effects within a tadpole assemblage. Oikos 121:259–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hoverman JT, Relyea RA (2008) Temporal environmental variation and phenotypic plasticity: a mechanism underlying priority effects. Oikos 117:23–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Inouye BD (2001) Response surface experimental designs for investigating inter-specific competition. Ecology 82:2696–2706

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Kardol P, Souza L, Classen AT (2013) Resource availability mediates the importance of priority effects in plant community assembly and ecosystem function. Oikos 122:84–94

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Kordas RL, Dudgeon S (2011) Dynamics of species interaction strength in space, time and with developmental stage. Proc R Soc Lond B 278:1804–1813

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lotka AJ (1932) The growth of mixed populations: two species competing for a common food supply. J Wash Acad Sci 22:461–469

    Google Scholar 

  18. Olito C, Fukami T (2009) Long-term effects of predator arrival timing on prey community succession. Am Nat 173:354–362

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  19. Parmesan C, Yohe G (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421:37–42

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Persson L et al (2004) Cannibalism in a size-structured population: energy extraction and control. Ecol Monogr 74:135–157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Rasmussen NL, Rudolf VHW (2016) Individual and combined effects of two types of phenological shifts on predator–prey interactions. Ecology 97:3414–3421

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Rasmussen NL, Van Allen BG, Rudolf VHW (2014) Linking phenological shifts to species interactions through size-mediated priority effects. J Anim Ecol 83:1206–1215

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. Robinson JV, Dickerson JE (1987) Does invasion sequence affect community structure. Ecology 68:587–595

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Robinson JV, Edgemon MA (1988) An experimental evaluation of the effect of invasion history on community structure. Ecology 69:1410–1417

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Rudolf VHW (2018) Nonlinear effects of phenological shifts link interannual variation to species interactions. J Anim Ecol. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12850

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Rudolf VHW, Singh M (2013) Disentangling climate change effects on species interactions: effects of temperature, phenological shifts, and body size. Oecologia 173:1043–1052

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Schwinning S, Weiner J (1998) Mechanisms determining the degree of size asymmetry in competition among plants. Oecologia 113:447–455

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Sharon PL, Morin PJ (1993) Temporal overlap, competition, and priority effects in larval anurans. Ecology 74:174–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Shorrocks B, Bingley M (1994) Priority effects and species coexistence: experiments with fungal-breeding Drosophila. J Anim Ecol 63:799–806

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Steiner CF, Leibold MA (2004) Cyclic assembly trajectories and scale-dependent productivity-diversity relationships. Ecology 85:107–113

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Stier AC, Geange SW, Hanson KM, Bolker BM (2013) Predator density and timing of arrival affect reef fish community assembly. Ecology 94:1057–1068

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Van Allen BG, Rasmussen NL, Dibble CJ, Clay PA, Rudolf VHW (2017) Top predators determine how biodiversity is partitioned across time and space. Ecol, Lett

    Google Scholar 

  33. Visser ME (2016) Phenology: interactions of climate change and species. Nature 535:236–237

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Visser ME, Both C (2005) Shifts in phenology due to global climate change: the need for a yardstick. Proc R Soc Lond B 272:2561–2569

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Volterra V (1926) Variations and fluctuations of the numbers of indivdiuals in animal species living together. In: Chapman RN (ed) Animal ecolgoy. McGraw-Hill, New York

  36. Walther G-R (2010) Community and ecosystem responses to recent climate change. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 365:2019–2024

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Walther GR et al (2002) Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416:389–395

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Werner EE (1994) Ontogenic scaling of competitive relations—size-dependent effects and responses in two anuran larvae. Ecology 75:197–213

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Wolkovich EM, Cook BI, McLauchlan KK, Davies TJ (2014) Temporal ecology in the anthropocene. Ecol Lett 17:1365–1379

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  40. Yang LH, Rudolf VHW (2010) Phenology, ontogeny, and the effects of climate change on the timing of species interactions. Ecol Lett 13:1–10

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  41. Yang LH, Bastow JL, Spence KO, Wright AN (2008) What can we learn from resource pulses? Ecology 89:621–634

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank C. Dibble for feedback and help on all aspects of the experiments and manuscript. This work was supported by NSF DEB-1256860 and DEB-1655626 to V.H.W. Rudolf.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

VHWR and SM design the experiment, SM conducted the experiment, and VHWR analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript with input from SM.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Volker H. W. Rudolf.

Ethics declarations

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All applicable institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed and approved under IACUC protocol A13101101.

Additional information

Communicated by Howard Whiteman.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rudolf, V.H.W., McCrory, S. Resource limitation alters effects of phenological shifts on inter-specific competition. Oecologia 188, 515–523 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-018-4214-3

Download citation

Keywords

  • Phenological shifts
  • Colonization
  • Historical contingency
  • Amphibian
  • Competition