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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.
Research news | 2018-12-13
Money sent home by migrants can prevent undesired farmland abandonment, as well as the promise of extensive forest regrowth
Research news | 2018-12-09
Amid transitions from swidden agriculture to market-driven oil palm plantations, women remain disadvantaged when it comes to access to land, labour and social capital
Research news | 2018-12-03
Review paper summarizes scholarship of resilience and economics, and projects how management of resilience could benefit sustainability measurement
Research news | 2018-11-28
The seventh in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development
Research news | 2018-11-25
Not enough city dwellers are exposed to nature in cities. That could have serious impacts on their health
Research news | 2018-11-20
The sixth in a series of seven "deep dives" looking into the connections between resilience and development