Density compensation suggests interspecific competition is weak among terrestrial snails in tabonuco forest of Puerto Rico

TitleDensity compensation suggests interspecific competition is weak among terrestrial snails in tabonuco forest of Puerto Rico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsBloch, CP, Willig, MR
JournalCaribbean Journal of Science
Volume46
Pagination159-168.
Accession NumberLUQ.1190
Keywordsbody size, Community structure, gastropoda, interspecific competition
Abstract

In the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF) of Puerto Rico, composition of terrestrial gastropodassemblages exhibits little temporal variation, even in response to intense hurricanes. One might thereforeexpect snail assemblages to be equilibrial and structured by interspecific interactions such as competition. Ifcompetition is strong and persistent throughout an assemblage, then it should manifest as densitycompensation (a negative correlation in population density between competitors) and be most pronouncedfor species pairs that are morphologically similar, as they should compete most strongly for resources. Weassessed the degree to which terrestrial snails in the LEF exhibit density compensation, from both spatial andtemporal perspectives. In general, density compensation was weak, especially from a spatial perspective.Moreover, the degree of density compensation was not significantly associated with dissimilarity in bodysize or shell shape. These results suggest that external factors such as predation or disturbance probablymaintain population densities at low enough levels that the effects of interspecific competition do notbecome intense or persistent enough to mold patterns of assemblage structure for terrestrial snails.

URLhttp://hydrodictyon.eeb.uconn.edu/people/willig/Willig_pdf/SJ_185_Bloch_and_Willig_2012.pdf
Short TitleDensity compensation suggests interspecific competition is weak among terrestrial snails in tabonuco forest of Puerto Rico