Abundance and dominance become less predictable as species richness decreases

Dornelas, Maria, Phillip, Dawn A.T., and Magurran, Anne E. (2011) Abundance and dominance become less predictable as species richness decreases. Global Ecology and Biogeography , 20 (6). pp. 832-841.

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Aim: To test the hypothesis that communities with higher diversity have more predictable properties by examining patterns of community structure along a species richness gradient.

Location: Trinidad and Tobago (11°00 N, 61°00 W), on the South American continental shelf, opposite the Orinoco River delta, north-east Venezuela.

Methods: We used quantile regressions to investigate how three total abundance, absolute and relative dominance measures – numerical abundance, biomass and energy use, respectively – change across a species richness gradient. We investigated which allocation rule best mimics community assembly in this species richness gradient by examining the abundance of the dominant species and comparing it with predictions of niche apportionment models.

Results: All measures of total abundance increase on average across the gradient, but the upper limit remains constant. On average, absolute dominance is constant, but the distance between the upper and lower limits decreases along the gradient. Relative dominance decreases with species richness. Observed dominance patterns are best described by Tokeshi's random fraction model.

Main conclusions: Our results show that both total abundance and absolute dominance become increasingly variable as biodiversity decreases. Consequently, our study suggests that ecosystem properties are less predictable when biodiversity is lower.

Item ID: 20721
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1466-8238
Keywords: aquatic biomass, community structure, dominant species, energy use,freshwater fish, niche model, resources, species richness, total abundance, Trinidad and Tobago
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Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2012 06:20
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 80%
01 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 0104 Statistics > 010402 Biostatistics @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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