Mutualist-mediated effects on species' range limits across large geographic scales

Michelle Afkhami, Patrick J. McIntyre, Sharon Y. Strauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding the processes determining species range limits is central to predicting species distributions under climate change. Projected future ranges are extrapolated from distribution models based on climate layers, and few models incorporate the effects of biotic interactions on species' distributions. Here, we show that a positive species interaction ameliorates abiotic stress, and has a profound effect on a species' range limits. Combining field surveys of 92 populations, 10 common garden experiments throughout the range, species distribution models and greenhouse experiments, we show that mutualistic fungal endophytes ameliorate drought stress and broaden the geographic range of their native grass host Bromus laevipes by thousands of square kilometres (~ 20% larger) into drier habitats. Range differentiation between fungal-associated and fungal-free grasses was comparable to species-level range divergence of congeners, indicating large impacts on range limits. Positive biotic interactions may be underappreciated in determining species' ranges and species' responses to future climates across large geographic scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1265-1273
Number of pages9
JournalEcology Letters
Volume17
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

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biogeography
grasses
climate
Bromus
endophytes
greenhouse experimentation
abiotic stress
gardens
water stress
climate change
habitats
grass
effect
endophyte
drought stress
field survey
garden
experiment
divergence
distribution

Keywords

  • Drought
  • Epichloe¨
  • Facilitation
  • Fungal endophyte
  • Grass
  • Mutualism
  • Niche
  • Range
  • Species distribution model
  • Symbiosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Mutualist-mediated effects on species' range limits across large geographic scales. / Afkhami, Michelle; McIntyre, Patrick J.; Strauss, Sharon Y.

In: Ecology Letters, Vol. 17, No. 10, 01.01.2014, p. 1265-1273.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Afkhami, Michelle ; McIntyre, Patrick J. ; Strauss, Sharon Y. / Mutualist-mediated effects on species' range limits across large geographic scales. In: Ecology Letters. 2014 ; Vol. 17, No. 10. pp. 1265-1273.
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