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Scale is a key to determining which processes drive community structure. We analyse size distributions of phytoplankton to determine time scales at which we can observe either fixed environmental characteristics underlying communities structure or competition-driven size distributions. Using multiple statistical tests, we characterise size distributions of phytoplankton from 20-year time series in two sites of the Baltic Sea.
At large temporal scales (5–20 years), size distributions are unimodal, indicating that fundamental barriers to existence are here subtler than in other systems. Frequency distributions of the average size of the species weighted by biovolume are multimodal over large time scales, although this is the product of often unimodal short-term (<1 year) patterns.
Our study represents a much-needed structured, high-resolution analysis of phytoplankton size distributions, revealing that short-term analyses are necessary to determine if, and how, competition shapes them. Our results provide a stepping-stone on which to further investigate the intricacies of competition and coexistence.
General news | 2018-06-20
Will lead a redesign of the organisational structure at the centre
Research news | 2018-06-20
New book chapter looks into the economic, cultural and ecological reasons why some people leave the fisheries and aquaculture sector, and what could be done to reverse the trend
Research news | 2018-06-19
Major population increases present Sub-Saharan Africa with complicated water-related challenges that requires a shift in water thinking
Research news | 2018-06-14
Swedish school project shows how children saving salamanders grow a stronger connection to nature afterwards
Research news | 2018-06-13
Celebrated for their work on furthering research on sustainable water management and resilience thinking
Research news | 2018-06-12
Questions around the popular ecosystem services framework and nature’s contribution to people has hit a nerve