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PLoS One. 2010 Jun 30;5(6):e11294. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011294.

Metacommunity dynamics: decline of functional relationship along a habitat fragmentation gradient.

Author information

1
MNHN-CNRS-UPMC, UMR 7204 CERSP, Paris, France. bergerot@mnhn.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The metacommunity framework is crucial to the study of functional relations along environmental gradients. Changes in resource grain associated with increasing habitat fragmentation should generate uncoupled responses of interacting species with contrasted dispersal abilities.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Here we tested whether the intensity of parasitism was modified by increasing habitat fragmentation in the well know predator-prey system linking the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to its main host Pieris brassicae (Lepidoptera: Pieridae). We collected information on herbivorous abundance and parasitism rate along an urbanization gradient from the periphery to the centre of Paris. We showed that butterfly densities were not influenced by habitat fragmentation, whereas parasitism rate sharply decreased along this gradient.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Our results provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying the persistence of species in highly fragmented areas. They suggest that differential dispersal abilities could alter functional relationships between prey and predator, notably by a lack of natural predators.

PMID:
20613976
PMCID:
PMC2894867
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0011294
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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