sPriority - Mechanisms and Quantification of Priority Effects

1st meeting: 27.09.-01.10.2021

Benjamin Delory, Institute of Ecology, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
Tadashi Fukami,Stanford University, California, USA

There is increasing recognition that the order and timing of species immigration can affect the structure and functioning of ecological communities via priority effects. Priority effects arise when early-arriving species affect the persistence and growth of later arrivers. When priority effects are strong enough to moderate local interspecific interactions, they could shape biodiversity and affect the functioning of ecosystems at both ecological and evolutionary time scales. Studies have shown that a wide range of mechanisms can cause priority effects. However, it remains unclear which mechanisms can be strong in what type of organisms and under what environmental conditions. In addition, there is currently no common framework for quantifying the strength of priority effects, thus hampering quantitative synthesis of priority effects across organisms and ecosystems. In this context, our proposed working group, sPriority, aims to (1) organize the definitions and mechanisms of priority effects, (2) develop a common framework for quantification of priority effects, (3) conduct a quantitative synthesis on priority effects using data from experiments that explicitly manipulated the timing and order of arrival of microorganisms, plants, or animals, and (4) investigate the importance of priority effects in structuring plant biodiversity using an ecological restoration database compiled as part of the Global Restore Project. By achieving these goals, the workshop will contribute to a better understanding of how, when, and where assembly history matters to biodiversity and the functioning of ecological communities.

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