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Stochastic relations between species richness and the variability of species composition


Stevens, M Henry H; Petchey, Owen L; Smouse, Peter E (2003). Stochastic relations between species richness and the variability of species composition. Oikos, 103(3):479-488.

Abstract

Ecological communities change over time and space, and ecologists have long suggested that biodiversity might influence the rate of change. Here we cast new light on this question by demonstrating statistical covariation between species richness and the variability of species abundances and identities within a community (compositional variability). We provide a new analytical framework for several previously published measures of ecosystem functioning and compositional variability. We derive three related variances, each of which measures compositional variability due solely to stochastic sampling processes. Our analyses show that whether relations between species richness and compositional variability are positive, negative or zero, depends on two factors. Not only does the particular variance used affect the relation, but, more importantly, the underlying determinants of species richness can strongly affect the stochastic relations between species richness and compositional variability. This analysis makes clear for the first time how species richness should correlate with important measures of community variability, even in the absence of systematic processes.

Ecological communities change over time and space, and ecologists have long suggested that biodiversity might influence the rate of change. Here we cast new light on this question by demonstrating statistical covariation between species richness and the variability of species abundances and identities within a community (compositional variability). We provide a new analytical framework for several previously published measures of ecosystem functioning and compositional variability. We derive three related variances, each of which measures compositional variability due solely to stochastic sampling processes. Our analyses show that whether relations between species richness and compositional variability are positive, negative or zero, depends on two factors. Not only does the particular variance used affect the relation, but, more importantly, the underlying determinants of species richness can strongly affect the stochastic relations between species richness and compositional variability. This analysis makes clear for the first time how species richness should correlate with important measures of community variability, even in the absence of systematic processes.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
5 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)
Language:English
Date:2003
Deposited On:10 Jul 2012 15:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:47
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0030-1299
Publisher DOI:10.1034/j.1600-0706.2003.12215.x
Other Identification Number:Accession Number: WOS:000186985900004
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-61850

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