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Community assembly processes as a mechanistic explanation of the predator-prey diversity relationship in marine microbes
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  • Feng-Hsun Chang,
  • Jinny Yang,
  • Ariana Chih-Hsien Liu,
  • Hsiao-Pei Lu,
  • Gwo-Ching Gong,
  • Fuh-Kwo Shiah,
  • Chih-hao Hsieh
Feng-Hsun Chang
National Taiwan University
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Jinny Yang
University of Michigan Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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Ariana Chih-Hsien Liu
National Taiwan University
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Hsiao-Pei Lu
National Cheng Kung University
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Gwo-Ching Gong
National Taiwan Ocean University
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Fuh-Kwo Shiah
Academia Sinica
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Chih-hao Hsieh
National Taiwan University
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Predator and prey α-diversity are often positively associated; yet, underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We attempt to address this issue by deciphering how α-diversity of predator and prey influences each other’s community assembly processes and subsequently determines α-diversity. The occurrence of assembly processes were indicated by the mean pairwise taxonomic index within a community (αMPTI), assuming assembly processes left traceable imprints on species’ phylogeny. Specifically, αMPTI quantifies deviations of observed phylogenetic distances from that of random, thus indicating that non-random/deterministic assembly processes are in action. Less negative αMPTI, which hints at the occurrence of weaker homogeneous deterministic assembly processes, is expected to increase α-diversity of the community. We hypothesize that higher predator and prey α-diversity make each other’s αMPTI less negative, which then increases their α-diversity. To test the hypothesis, we calculated Shannon diversity and αMPTI for heterotrophic nanoflagellates (HNF; predator) and bacteria (prey) communities in the East China Sea. The HNF Shannon diversity was found to make the αMPTI of bacteria less negative, which then increased bacterial Shannon diversity. In contrast, bacterial Shannon diversity did not affect HNF’s αMPTI. We provide evidence that top-down control underpins the positive α-diversity association among trophic levels in microbes of the East China Sea.

Peer review status:Published

31 May 2021Published in Frontiers in Marine Science volume 8. 10.3389/fmars.2021.651565