On biodiversity in river networks: A trade-off metapopulation model and comparative analysis

R. Muneepeerakul, Simon Asher Levin, A. Rinaldo, I. Rodriguez-Iturbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A discrete, structured metapopulation model is coupled with the strictly hierarchical competition-colonization trade-off model, in which competitively superior species have lower fecundity rates and thus lower colonizing ability, to study the resulting biodiversity patterns in river networks. These patterns are then compared with those resulting from the neutral dynamics, in which every species has the same fecundity rate and is competitively equivalent at a per capita level. Significant differences exist between riparian biodiversity patterns and those predicted by theories developed for two-dimensional landscapes. We find that dispersal directionality and network structure promote species that produce a large number of propagules at a species level; such species are considered competitively superior in the neutral model and inferior in the trade-off model. As a result, the two key characteristics of riparian systems, dispersal directionality and network structure, lead to lower and higher overall γ diversity in the former and the latter models, respectively. The network structure, through the containment effect due to limited cross-basin dispersal, always leads to higher between-community, β diversity. The spatial distribution of local, α diversity becomes heterogeneous and thus important under directional dispersal and network structure. A higher degree of dividedness results in higher γ diversity for communities obeying both neutral and trade-off models, but the increase is more dramatic in the latter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW07426
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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