Spatiotemporal dimensions of community assembly

Naoto Shinohara, Ryosuke Nakadai, Yuka Suzuki, Akira Terui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Ecological communities are assembled through a series of multiple processes, including dispersal, abiotic and biotic filtering, and ecological drift. Although these assembly processes act in concert to structure local communities, their relative importance is considerably variable among study systems. While such contingency of community assembly has been widely appreciated, the empirical and theoretical evidence is scattered around in the literature, and few efforts have been made to synthesize it. In this mini-review, we summarize the accumulated evidence of the context-dependency of community assembly rules, to reach a rough generalization of the contingency. Specifically, we argue that spatial and temporal dimensions can serve as general axes that regulate the relative importance of assembly processes. To this end, we synthesize the current understanding of how the relative importance of multiple assembly processes changes with spatial scales and complexity, and with time in the long and short terms. This review concludes that spatial and temporal dimensions can be common currencies of community assembly rules that are shared across various systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalPopulation Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan


  • community assembly
  • context-dependency
  • spatial scales
  • temporal scales
  • time lag

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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