Resisting annihilation: relationships between functional trait dissimilarity, assemblage competitive power and allelopathy.
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Allelopathic species can alter biodiversity. Using simulated assemblages that are characterised by neutrality, lumpy coexistence and intransitivity, we explore relationships between within-assemblage competitive dissimilarities and resistance to allelopathic species. An emergent behaviour from our models is that assemblages are more resistant to allelopathy when members strongly compete exploitatively (high competitive power). We found that neutral assemblages were the most vulnerable to allelopathic species, followed by lumpy and then by intransitive assemblages. We find support for our modeling in real-world time-series data from eight lakes of varied morphometry and trophic state. Our analysis of this data shows that a lake's history of allelopathic phytoplankton species biovolume density and dominance is related to the number of species clusters occurring in the plankton assemblages of those lakes, an emergent trend similar to that of our modeling. We suggest that an assemblage's competitive power determines its allelopathy resistance.