¿Blanco, negro o escala de grises? Determinación de la contribución relativa del nicho ecológico y la teoría neutral en los ensambles de especies

¿Blanco, negro o escala de grises? Determinación de la contribución relativa del nicho ecológico y la teoría neutral en los ensambles de especies

Juan Alberti, Pedro Daleo, Oscar Iribarne

Resumen


Según la teoría del nicho ecológico, la composición de especies en un lugar dado debería estar determinada por la conjunción de los factores bióticos y abióticos que allí actúan. En cambio, la teoría neutral propone que las especies son equivalentes y que la composición de ensambles locales está dada, entonces, por procesos de colonización y extinción independientes de las especies. Hoy en día se sabe que es difícil encontrar en la naturaleza ensambles puramente neutrales o puramente basados en el nicho ecológico, sino que lo que priman son ensambles intermedios. Los ensambles con una impronta fuerte del nicho ecológico están muy influidos por las interacciones interespecíficas o por los forzantes ambientales, mientras que los ensambles neutrales están más influidos por la deriva ecológica o por las dinámicas de extinción y colonización en base a las abundancias de las especies. El concepto de beta diversidad se tornó especialmente popular durante la última década y ha sido utilizado con diferentes finalidades en una gran variedad de ambientes. En particular, ganó mucha relevancia como herramienta para estimar la importancia relativa del nicho ecológico en los ensambles de especies. Esto se puede evaluar de forma sencilla con el uso de modelos neutrales ad hoc. En un ensamble puramente neutral, la variabilidad en la composición del ensamble entre muestras no debería ser diferente a la esperada como producto de una selección de especies al azar del total regional de especies (diversidad gama) para cada muestra (diversidad alfa). Cuanto más se aleje la variabilidad a la esperable por azar, mayor será la importancia relativa del nicho ecológico. Recientemente, hubo un gran avance en entender qué tipos de factores promueven uno u otro ensamble. Sin embargo, al ser un campo relativamente nuevo queda aún mucho por saber (e.g., interacción de factores, relación tiempoespacio, diferencias entre niveles tróficos). En este trabajo revisamos los alcances y la metodología de una temática que está viviendo un desarrollo marcado dentro de la ecología de comunidades, y discutimos algunos de los aspectos relevantes y relacionados que, por el momento, no fueron estudiados.

https://doi.org/10.25260/EA.18.28.1.0.622


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