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Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction.

08:00 EDT 20th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Reorganization of surviving mammal communities after the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction."

Large mammals are at high risk of extinction globally. To understand the consequences of their demise for community assembly, we tracked community structure through the end-Pleistocene megafaunal extinction in North America. We decomposed the effects of biotic and abiotic factors by analyzing co-occurrence within the mutual ranges of species pairs. Although shifting climate drove an increase in niche overlap, co-occurrence decreased, signaling shifts in biotic interactions. Furthermore, the effect of abiotic factors on co-occurrence remained constant over time while the effect of biotic factors decreased. Biotic factors apparently played a key role in continental-scale community assembly before the extinctions. Specifically, large mammals likely promoted co-occurrence in the Pleistocene, and their loss contributed to the modern assembly pattern in which co-occurrence frequently falls below random expectations.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Science (New York, N.Y.)
ISSN: 1095-9203
Pages: 1305-1308

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