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Nat Commun. 2014 Oct 22;5:5234. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6234.

Pattern formation at multiple spatial scales drives the resilience of mussel bed ecosystems.

Author information

1
1] Department of Spatial Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, The Netherlands [2] Department of Aquatic Microbiology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Spatial Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, The Netherlands.
3
1] Department of Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, PO Box 50, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands [2] Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
4
Department of Aquatic Microbiology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, PO Box 94248, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.
6
Community and Conservation Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands.
7
1] Department of Spatial Ecology, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, PO Box 140, 4400 AC Yerseke, The Netherlands [2] Community and Conservation Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Self-organized complexity at multiple spatial scales is a distinctive characteristic of biological systems. Yet, little is known about how different self-organizing processes operating at different spatial scales interact to determine ecosystem functioning. Here we show that the interplay between self-organizing processes at individual and ecosystem level is a key determinant of the functioning and resilience of mussel beds. In mussel beds, self-organization generates spatial patterns at two characteristic spatial scales: small-scale net-shaped patterns due to behavioural aggregation of individuals, and large-scale banded patterns due to the interplay of between-mussel facilitation and resource depletion. Model analysis reveals that the interaction between these behavioural and ecosystem-level mechanisms increases mussel bed resilience, enables persistence under deteriorating conditions and makes them less prone to catastrophic collapse. Our analysis highlights that interactions between different forms of self-organization at multiple spatial scales may enhance the intrinsic ability of ecosystems to withstand both natural and human-induced disturbances.

PMID:
25335554
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms6234
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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