Linking spatial self-organization to community assembly and biodiversity

Bidesh K. Bera, Omer Tzuk, Jamie J.R. Bennett, Ehud Meron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Drier climates impose environmental stresses on plant communities that may result in community reassembly and threatened ecosystem services, but also may trigger self-organization in spatial patterns of biota and resources, which act to relax these stresses. The complex relationships between these counteracting processes – community reassembly and spatial self-organization – have hardly been studied. Using a spatio-temporal model of dryland plant communities and a trait-based approach, we study the response of such communities to imposed water stress of increasing degrees. We first show that spatial patterning acts to reverse shifts from fast-growing species to stress-tolerant species, as well as to reverse functional-diversity loss. We then show that spatial re-patterning buffers the impact of further stress on community structure. Finally, we identify multistability ranges of uniform and patterned community states and use them to propose forms of non-uniform ecosystem management that integrate the need for provisioning ecosystem services with the need to preserve community structure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere73819
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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