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The Multidimensional Stoichiometric Niche [Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

The niche concept is essential to understanding how biotic and abiotic factors regulate the abundance and distribution of living entities, and how these organisms utilize, affect and compete for resources in the environment. However, it has been challenging to determine the number and types of important niche dimensions. By contrast, there is strong mechanistic theory and empirical evidence showing that the elemental composition of living organisms shapes ecological systems, from organismal physiology to food web structure. We propose an approach based on a multidimensional elemental view of the ecological niche. Visualizing the stoichiometric composition of individuals in multivariate space permits quantification of niche dimensions within and across species. This approach expands on previous elemental characterizations of plant niches, and adapts metrics of niche volume, overlap and nestedness previously used to quantify isotopic niches. We demonstrate the applicability of the multidimensional stoichiometric niche using data on carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus of terrestrial and freshwater communities composed by multiple trophic groups.(...)

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