Interactions among foundation species and their consequences for community organization, biodiversity, and conservation


Journal Article

Foundation species create complex habitats in which associated organisms find refuge from biological and physical stress; these foundation species are thus fundamental to the structure and resilience of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. In the present article, we develop an approach to understanding foundation species' effects in communities that are maintained not by a single foundation species, as has been the focus of research to date, but by multiple, co-occurring foundation species. Using examples from diverse ecosystems, we illustrate the prevalence of multiple foundation-species assemblages and hypothesize that the nature of foundation-species interactions has important consequences for community structure. We predict where positive and negative interactions among foundation species will occur and suggest that they organize communities hierarchically in nested or adjacent assemblages that underlie landscape-scale patterns in species distribution. Elucidating the predictable nature of foundation-species interactions may be key to understanding and managing the biodiversity and functioning of many ecosystems. © 2011 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at. © 2011 by American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Angelini, C; Altieri, AH; Silliman, BR; Bertness, MD

Published Date

  • October 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 61 / 10

Start / End Page

  • 782 - 789

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3568

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1525/bio.2011.61.10.8

Citation Source

  • Scopus