Metacommunity ecology

Metacommunities represent communities connected by dispersal (see Tonkin et al., 2018; FWB).

The metacommunity concept has advanced our understanding of the processes shaping community assembly by emphasising the interdependence of local communities and the regional species pool. Essentially, communities are shaped by an interplay between local (environmental filtering and biotic interactions; species sorting) and regional (dispersal) processes. We are particularly interested in the governing role that the structure of landscape or riverscape networks have on governing metacommunity dynamics, and increasingly how this influences the stability of local and regional biodiversity under environmental change. We use a variety of approaches to tackle these questions, including analysis of long-term datasets and mechanistic simulations.

Jonathan D. Tonkin
Senior Lecturer & Rutherford Discovery Fellow


Do latitudinal gradients exist in New Zealand stream invertebrate metacommunities?

That biodiversity declines with latitude is well known, but whether a metacommunity process is behind this gradient has received …

Metacommunities in river networks: The importance of network structure and connectivity on patterns and processes

Rivers are spatially organised into hierarchic dendritic networks. This unique physical structure and the associated directionality of …

The role of dispersal in river network metacommunities: Patterns, processes, and pathways

River networks are hierarchical dendritic habitats embedded within the terrestrial landscape, with varying connectivity between sites …

Metacommunity structuring in himalayan streams over large elevational gradients: The role of dispersal routes and niche characteristics

Aim: To examine metacommunity structuring in stream communities over large elevational gradients by disentangling physical and …

Contrasting metacommunity structure and beta diversity in an aquatic-floodplain system

Habitat connectivity and dispersal interact to structure metacommunities, but few studies have examined these patterns jointly for …