Multiple modes in a coral species abundance distribution

Dornelas, Maria, and Connolly, Sean (2008) Multiple modes in a coral species abundance distribution. Ecology Letters, 11 (10). pp. 1008-1016.

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Species abundance distributions are an important measure of biodiversity and community structure. These distributions are affected by sampling, and alternative species-abundance models often make similar predictions for small sample sizes. Very large samples reveal the relative abundances of rare species, and thus provide information about species relative abundances that small samples cannot. Here, we present the species-abundance distribution for a sample of > 40 000 coral colonies at a single site, exceeding existing samples of coral local assemblages by over an order of magnitude. This abundance distribution is multimodal when examined on a logarithmic scale. Four different model selection procedures all indicate that the underlying community abundance distribution has at least three modes. We show that the multiple modes are not caused by mixtures of species with different habitat preferences. However, spatial aggregation partially explains our results. We inspect published work on species abundance distributions, and suggest that multimodality may be a common feature of large samples.

Item ID: 6246
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-0248
Keywords: biodiversity; community structure; coral reefs; lognormal; marine sciences
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2010 05:20
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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