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A potential role for rare species in ecosystem dynamics
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Division of Theoretical Biology, Sweden / Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources, Öregrund, Sweden.
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Uppsala, Sweden. (Ekologisk modellering, Ecological Modeling)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5234-9576
University College Dublin, School of Biology & Environmental Science, Ireland / UCD Earth Institute, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1838-0454
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience. University of Skövde, The Systems Biology Research Centre. (Ekologisk modellering, Ecological Modeling)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6122-6167
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2019 (English)In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, p. 1-12, article id 11107Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The ecological importance of common species for many ecosystem processes and functions is unquestionably due to their high a bundance.Yet, the importance of rare species is much less understood. Here we take a theoretical approach, exposing dynamical models of ecological networks to small perturbations, to explore the dynamical importance of rare and common species. We find that both species types contribute to the recovery of communities following generic perturbations (i.e. perturbations affecting all species).Yet, when perturbations are selective (i.e. affects only one species), perturbations to rare species have the most pronounced effect on community stability. We show that this is due to the strong indirect effects induced by perturbations to rare species. Because indirect effects typically set in at longer timescales, our results indicate that the importance of rare species may be easily overlooked and thus underrated. Hence, our study provides a potential ecological motive for the management and protection of rare species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Nature Publishing Group, 2019. Vol. 9, p. 1-12, article id 11107
Keywords [en]
ecological interactions, interaction strengths, food, diversity, perturbations, extinctions, complexity, stability
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Ecological Modelling Group
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-17533DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-47541-6ISI: 000477950800030PubMedID: 31366907Scopus ID: eid=2-s2.0-85070937056OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-17533DiVA, id: diva2:1343129
Available from: 2019-08-15 Created: 2019-08-15 Last updated: 2019-09-04Bibliographically approved

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