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Linking species interactions with phylogenetic and functional distance in European bird assemblages at broad spatial scales

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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Wiley. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
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Linking species interactions with phylogenetic and functional distance in European bird assemblages at broad spatial scales

Aim Understanding the relative contribution of different species interactions in shaping community assembly has been a pivotal aim in community ecology. Biotic interactions are acknowledged to be important at local scales, although their signal is assumed to weaken over longer distances. We examine the relationship between positive, neutral and negative pairwise bird abundance distributions and the phylogenetic and functional distance between these pairs after first controlling for habitat associations. Location France and Finland. Time period 1984 to 2011 (Finland), 2001 to 2012 (France). Major Taxa studied Birds. Methods We used results from French and Finnish land bird monitoring programmes, from which we created three independent datasets (French forests, French farmlands and Finnish forests). Separately for the three datasets, we fitted linear mixed-effects models for pairwise abundance values across years per point count station to infer the association between all common species pairs, while controlling for geographical distribution and habitat associations, and saved pairwise regression coefficients for further analyses. We used a null model approach to infer whether the observed associations (effect sizes) differ from random. Finally, using quantile regression, we analysed the relationships between functional dissimilarity/phylogenetic distance and effect sizes. Results Our results show both negative and positive species interactions, although negative interactions were twice as common as positive interactions. Closely related species were more likely to show strong associations, both negative and positive, than more distant species across broad spatial scales. For functional dissimilarity, the results varied across datasets. Main conclusions Our results emphasize the potential of functional and phylogenetic proximity in generating both negative and positive species associations, which can produce pervasive patterns from local to geographical scales. Future assembly studies should refrain from strict dichotomies, such as compensatory dynamics versus environmental forcing, and instead consider the possibility of positive interactions.

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ISSN
1466-822X