Regional enrichment of local assemblages is robust to variation in local productivity, abiotic gradients, and heterogeneity



Theory predicts that the effects of regional richness on the richness of local communities may depend on the productivity, resource availability, and/or heterogeneity of local sites. Using the wetland plant communities of 50 independent streams as ‘regions’, we tested whether: (1) local richness in 1-m2 quadrats and 50-m stream segments was positively related to regional richness, even after environmental influences were considered; and (2) the effect of regional richness would interact with the effects of biomass, soil moisture, and/or heterogeneity on local richness. In models that explained up to 88% of variation in local richness, we found that richness at both local scales was positively related to regional richness, and that regional richness did not interact with any of the environmental gradients that also shaped local richness. We conclude that species availability from the regional pool may consistently enrich local communities, even while other constraints on local richness operate.