The metacommunity concept has an exclusive focus on the biotic components of ecosystems while it is also recognized that properties of ecological communities can only be understood by explicitly embedding communities into ecosystems, including abiotic constraints and feedbacks (Polis et al. 2004). The natural extension of the metacommunity concept which includes these abiotic constraints and feedbacks is the meta-ecosystem concept defined as a set of ecosystems connected by spatial flows of energy, materials and organisms across ecosystem boundaries (Loreau et al. 2003). In contrast to metacommunities, which only considers connections among systems via the dispersal of organisms, the metaecosystem more broadly embraces all kinds of spatial flows among systems. As a result, it has the potential to integrate the perspectives of community, ecosystem, and landscape ecology. Landscape ecology has provided already considerable attention to local impacts of spatial subsidies on the structure, dynamics and functioning of communities and ecosystems (Polis et al. 1997). Such studies, however, were limited, in that the properties of the higher-level, spatially extended dynamical system that emerges from movements at the landscape or regional scale have seldom been considered explicitly. A full appreciation of the importance of spatial flows in ecology and a conceptual synthesis of landscape ecology and metacommunity theory is naturally emerging is the metaecosystem perspective.

Loreau M., Mouquet N. & Holt R. (2003). Meta-ecosystem: a framework for a spatial ecosystem ecology. Ecology Letters, 6, 673-679. Polis G.A., Anderson W.B. & Holt R.D. (1997). Toward an integration of landscape and food web ecology: The dynamics of spatially subsidized food webs. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 28, 289-316. Polis G.E., Power M.E. & Huxel G.R. (2004). Food Webs at the Landscape Level. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Most of my research program on metaecosystems has concerned revisiting some classical models and concept of community ecology in the light of metaecosystem dynamics (source sinks, competition colonization, paradox of enrichment, keystsone). This research has also resulted in producing reviews papers and integrated approches

Back to Nicolas Mouquet homepage

Exemple of an metaecosystem framework (from Gravel et al. 2010). We represent here, the local ecosystem structure (resource R, producer P, herbivore H and detritus D) and the flows among compartments (dispersal d, mortality m, consumption f, input I, recycling r and losses e).

OTHER TOPICS: Aesthetics of Biodiversity, Biodiversity & Ecosystem Functioning, Biogeography, Macroecology & Ecophylogenetics, Experimental Evolution, Functional Biogeography, Functional Rarity, Metacommunities, Reviews and Synthesis, Trophic Biogeography & Metaweb

Modelling approaches

Gounand, I., Mouquet N., Canard, E., Guichard, F., Hauzy, C. and Gravel, D. (2014). The Paradox of Enrichment in Metaecosystems. The American Naturalist, 184, 752-763, doi:10.1086/678406

Hauzy C., Nadin G., Canard E., Gounand I. Mouquet N. and Ebenman B. (2013). Confronting the Paradox of Enrichment to the Metacommunity Perspective. Plos One, 8, e82969, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082969

Mouquet N., Gravel D., Massol F. and Calcagno V. (2013). Extending the concept of keystone species to communities and ecosystems. Ecology Letters, 16, 1-8, doi:10.1111/ele.12014

[44] Calcagno V., Massol F., Mouquet N., Jarne P. and David P. (2011). Constraints on food chain length arising from regional metacommunity dynamics. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Serie B, 278, 3042-3049, doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.0112

Gravel D., Mouquet N., Loreau M., and Guichard F. (2010). Patch Dynamics, Persistence, and Species Coexistence in Metaecosystems. The American Naturalist, 176, 289-302, doi:10.1086/655426

Gravel D., Guichard F., Loreau M. and Mouquet N. (2010). Source and sink dynamics in metaecosystems. Ecology, 91, 2172-2184, doi:10.1890/09-0843.1

Integrative approaches & Reviews

Massol, F., Altermatt, F., Gounand, I., Gravel, D., Leibold, M.A. and Mouquet, N. (2017). How life-history traits affect ecosystem properties: effects of dispersal in meta-ecosystems. Oikos,126,532-546, doi:10.1111/oik.03893

Loreau, M., Daufresne, T., Gonzalez, A., Gravel, D., Guichard, F., Leroux, S.J., Loeuille, N., Massol, F. and Mouquet, N. (2013). Unifying sources and sinks in ecology and Earth sciences. Biological Review, 88, 365-79, doi:10.1111/brv.12003

Massol F., Gravel D., Mouquet N., Cadotte M.W., Fukami T. and Leibold M.A. (2011). Linking community and ecosystem dynamics through spatial ecology. Ecology Letters, 14, 313-323, doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01588.x

Loreau M., Mouquet N., and Holt R.D. (2005). From metacommunities to meta-ecosystems. In : Metacommunities: Spatial dynamics and ecological communities. Eds M. Holyoak, M A. Leibold and R. D. Holt. Chicago University Press.

Loreau M., Mouquet N. and Holt, R. (2003). Meta-ecosystems: a framework for a spatial ecosystem ecology. Ecology Letters, 6, 673-679, doi:10.1046/j.1461-0248.2003.00483.x

Back to the main page ...