Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1002/ecy.3104
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Year effects: Interannual variation as a driver of community assembly dynamics
Author Werner, C.M.; Stuble, K.L.; Groves, A.M.; Young, T.P.
Source Titel Ecology
Year 2020
Department iDiv; PHYDIV
Volume 101
Issue 9
Page From e03104
Language englisch
Keywords Year effects; community assembly; variation; restoration; global change; precipitation
Abstract Environmental conditions that vary from year‐to‐year can be strong drivers of ecological dynamics, including the composition of newly assembled communities. However, ecologists often chalk such dynamics up to “noise” in ecological experiments. Our lack of attention to such “year effects” hampers our understanding of contingencies in ecological assembly mechanisms and limits the generalizability of research findings. Here, we provide examples from published research demonstrating the importance of year effects during community assembly across study systems. We further quantify these year effects with two case studies— a grassland restoration experiment and a study of post‐fire conifer recruitment—finding that the effects of initiation year on community composition can dictate community as much, if not more, than the effects of experimental treatments or site. The evidence strongly suggests that year effects are pervasive and profound, and that year effects early in community assembly can drive strong and enduring divergence in community structure and function. Explicit attention to year effects in ecological research serves to illuminate basic ecological principles, allowing for better understanding of contingencies in ecology. Understanding these dynamics also has strong implications for applied ecological research, offering new insight to improve ecological restoration as well as prediction of the consequences of future climate change.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Werner, C.M., Stuble, K.L., Groves, A.M., Young, T.P. (2020):
Year effects: Interannual variation as a driver of community assembly dynamics
Ecology 101 (9), e03104 10.1002/ecy.3104