Document Detail

Area-heterogeneity tradeoff and the diversity of ecological communities.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23045670     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
For more than 50 y ecologists have believed that spatial heterogeneity in habitat conditions promotes species richness by increasing opportunities for niche partitioning. However, a recent stochastic model combining the main elements of niche theory and island biogeography theory suggests that environmental heterogeneity has a general unimodal rather than a positive effect on species richness. This result was explained by an inherent tradeoff between environmental heterogeneity and the amount of suitable area available for individual species: for a given area, as heterogeneity increases, the amount of effective area available for individual species decreases, thereby reducing population sizes and increasing the likelihood of stochastic extinctions. Here we provide a comprehensive evaluation of this hypothesis. First we analyze an extensive database of breeding bird distribution in Catalonia and show that patterns of species richness, species abundance, and extinction rates are consistent with the predictions of the area-heterogeneity tradeoff and its proposed mechanisms. We then perform a metaanalysis of heterogeneity-diversity relationships in 54 published datasets and show that empirical data better fit the unimodal pattern predicted by the area-heterogeneity tradeoff than the positive pattern predicted by classic niche theory. Simulations in which species may have variable niche widths along a continuous environmental gradient are consistent with all empirical findings. The area-heterogeneity tradeoff brings a unique perspective to current theories of species diversity and has important implications for biodiversity conservation.
Omri Allouche; Michael Kalyuzhny; Gregorio Moreno-Rueda; Manuel Pizarro; Ronen Kadmon
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-10-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-24     Completed Date:  2013-01-07     Revised Date:  2013-09-20    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  17495-500     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J Safra Campus, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Conservation of Natural Resources
Likelihood Functions
Stochastic Processes
Comment In:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 30;110(31):E2861-2
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 11;110(24):E2151-2   [PMID:  23905184 ]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jun 11;110(24):E2149-50   [PMID:  23661060 ]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jul 30;110(31):E2858-60   [PMID:  23754368 ]

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