Get access

Uncertain biotic and abiotic interactions in benthic communities


  • Jacob Hagberg,

  • Niclas Jonzén,

  • Per Lundberg,

  • Jörgen Ripa

J. Hagberg, Dept of Marine Ecology, Göteborg Univ., Kristineberg Marine Res. Stn, SE-450 34, Fiskebäckskil, Sweden ( – N. Jonzén, Dept of Biology and Environmental Sci., Univ. of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FIN-40351, Finland. – P. Lundberg and J. Ripa, Dept of Theoretical Ecology, Ecology Building, Lund Univ., SE-22362 Lund, Sweden (JP also: Integrative Ecology Unit, Div. of Population Biology, Univ. of Helsinki, Finland).


We analyze marine benthic communities at different sites in Skagerrak with the purpose of understanding the role of exogenous and endogenous factors in explaining the species’ temporal dynamics. The previous finding that the dynamics of these species communities are mainly driven and synchronized by environmental (temperature) forcing was only weakly supported when analyzing single-species dynamics at five sites where four of the species were present every year. There was no consistent pattern in how the temperature affected the realized per capita growth rate, either across species at a given site, or among sites for a given species. Furthermore, there was no net-interaction from the community on a given species strong enough to give rise to second-order dynamics. However, when implementing a Multi Dimensional Scaling (MDS) analysis and incorporating all sampling sites and species -we found that the different communities clustered in relation to depth, hence, communities at the same depth were more “similar” than communities at different depth. Revealing the underlying interactions shaping these marine benthic communities is a challenge that calls for an array of various and complementary approaches.