plantXfungi.tex from Diversity within mutualist guilds promotes coexistence and reduces the risk of invasion from an alien mutualist
datasetposted on 12.03.2020 by Maria M. Martignoni, Miranda M. Hart, Rebecca C. Tyson, Jimmy Garnier
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Biodiversity is an important component of healthy ecosystems, and thus understanding the mechanisms behind species coexistence is critical in ecology and conservation biology. In particular, few studies have focused on the dynamics resulting from the co-occurrence of mutualistic and competitive interactions within a group of species. Here we build a mathematical model to study the dynamics of a guild of competitors who are also engaged in mutualistic interactions with a common partner. We show that coexistence as well as competitive exclusion can occur depending on the competition strength and on strength of the mutualistic interactions, and we formulate concrete criteria for predicting invasion success of an alien mutualist based on propagule pressure, alien traits (such as its resource exchange ability) and composition of the recipient community. We find that intra guild diversity promotes the coexistence of species that would otherwise competitively exclude each other, and makes a guild less vulnerable to invasion. Our results can serve as a useful framework to predict the consequences of species manipulation in mutualistic communities.