About this Research Topic
In the Anthropocene, biodiversity is facing the most pervasive effects of human activities- such as the massive conversion and loss of habitats- leading to the extinction of species, changes in ecological interactions and loss of unique functional roles. In the last two decades, metacommunity theory has brought new insights into the effects of ecological processes (either deterministic or stochastic) operating at different spatial scales on the structuring of ecological communities. A major contribution of this theory was the understanding of the importance of dispersal on local communities. Identifying the main drivers affecting the movement of individuals (and their genetic material) through space has considerable implications for conservation and management strategies. This is particularly important given the current scenario of climate and land-use changes. Despite the significant contributions made by metacommunity theory, there are still novel avenues to explore- for example, the inclusion of temporal dynamics relevant to the organisms under study or the comparison of metacommunity structures at different spatial scales.
In this Research Topic, we aim to publish a set of innovative papers on metacommunity spatio-temporal dynamics to better understand how the factors and processes that structure metacommunities change across space and time, as well as the implications of such dynamics for biodiversity conservation and management. This collection will include research papers (experimental, empirical, theoretical, review or opinion studies) using metacommunity concepts with clear conservation implications. All ecosystems will be considered (i.e. terrestrial, freshwater and marine), as well as any biological group. We are particularly interested in the following:
• Metacommunity theory applied to spatio-temporal dynamics. Temporal data have to be taken into account.
• Long-term studies and the use of predictive models to infer future metacommunities.
• Studies analyzing how metacommunity structure depends on the spatial scale used by influencing dispersal.
• Large-scale studies using a multi-taxa approach.
• Studies on anthropogenic disturbance that can offer new management insights using a metacommunity approach.
• The use of the metacommunity theory to improve current environmental monitoring tools.
Keywords: Assembly mechanisms, Community dynamic, Conservation, Spatio-temporal patterns
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.