Ruprecht E, Bartha S, Botta-Dukát Z et al: Assembly rules during old-field ... (2007)

Ruprecht E, Bartha S, Botta-Dukát Z, Szabó A
Assembly rules during old-field succession in two contrasting environments.
Community Ecology 8: 31-40.

Studies addressing the question of how communities develop reported contrasting temporal patterns of species associations during succession. Several hypotheses were formulated about succession, but a general explanation of community assembly is missing.We analysed trends of species associations during old-field succession in two contrasting habitats: the first with chernozemic brown forest soil and temperate climate, and the second with sand soil and dryer climate. Significant pair-wise associations were calculated across a range of spatial scales. Comparing the two succession seres, one under harsh and the other under favourable environment, we attempted to make generalisations about species relation patterns. We found no trend but fluctuation in the level of community organization during succession. None of
the existing succession models explained our results about changes in spatial structure of grassland communities during succession. Fluctuation in the number of significant associations was more intense and took longer under less favourable environmental conditions. Our results suggest that the stressed habitat type posed stronger constraints on species coexistence during succession than the favourable habitat did, but validating this hypothesis needs further investigations.