Seascape connectivity critically affects the spatiotemporal dynamics of marine metacommunities. Understanding how connectivity patterns emerge from physically and biologically-mediated interactions is therefore crucial to conserve marine ecosystem functions and biodiversity. Here, we develop a set of biophysical models to explore connectivity in assemblages of species belonging to a typical Mediterranean community (Posidonia oceanica meadows) and characterized by different dispersing traits. We propose a novel methodological framework to synthesize species-specific results into a set of community connectivity metrics and show that spatiotemporal variation in magnitude and direction of the connections, as well as interspecific differences in dispersing traits, are key factors structuring community connectivity. We eventually demonstrate how these metrics can be used to characterize the functional role of each marine area in determining patterns of community connectivity at the basin level and to support marine conservation planning.
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