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Why equalising trade-offs aren't always neutral


Turnbull, L A; Rees, M; Purves, D W (2008). Why equalising trade-offs aren't always neutral. Ecology Letters, 11(10):1037-1046.

Abstract

Equalising trade-offs, such as seed mass vs. number, have been invoked to reconcile neutral theory with observed differences between species. This is an appealing explanation for the dramatic seed size variation seen within guilds of otherwise similar plants: under size-symmetric competition, where resource capture is proportional to mass, the outcome of competition should be insensitive to whether species produce many small seeds or few large ones. However, under this assumption, stochastic
variation in seed rain leads to exclusion of all but the smallest-seeded species. Thus stochasticity in seed arrivals, a process that was previously thought to generate drift, instead results in deterministic competitive exclusion. A neutral outcome is possible under one special case of a more general equalising framework, where seed mass affects survival but not competition. Further exploration of the feasibility of neutral trade-offs is
needed to understand the respective roles of neutrality and niche structure in community dynamics.

Abstract

Equalising trade-offs, such as seed mass vs. number, have been invoked to reconcile neutral theory with observed differences between species. This is an appealing explanation for the dramatic seed size variation seen within guilds of otherwise similar plants: under size-symmetric competition, where resource capture is proportional to mass, the outcome of competition should be insensitive to whether species produce many small seeds or few large ones. However, under this assumption, stochastic
variation in seed rain leads to exclusion of all but the smallest-seeded species. Thus stochasticity in seed arrivals, a process that was previously thought to generate drift, instead results in deterministic competitive exclusion. A neutral outcome is possible under one special case of a more general equalising framework, where seed mass affects survival but not competition. Further exploration of the feasibility of neutral trade-offs is
needed to understand the respective roles of neutrality and niche structure in community dynamics.

Citations

21 citations in Web of Science®
19 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Demographic stochasticity, Jensens inequality, life-history trade-offs, lottery models, neutral theory, pioneer trees, seed mass, seed size, spatial variance, stochastic dispersal
Language:English
Date:October 2008
Deposited On:22 Jan 2009 15:33
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:51
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1461-023X
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01214.x
PubMed ID:18616545

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