An extensive comparison of species-abundance distribution models.

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Elita BaldridgeXiao Xiao


The hollow curve species abundance distribution describes the pattern of large numbers of rare species and a small number of common species in a community. The species abundance distribution is one of the most ubiquitous patterns in nature and many models have been proposed to explain the mechanisms that generate this pattern. While there have been numerous comparisons of species abundance distribution models, most of these comparisons only use only a small subset of available models, focus on a single ecosystem or taxonomic group, and fail to use the most appropriate statistical methods. This makes it difficult to draw general conclusions about which, if any, models provide the best empirical fit to species abundance distributions. We compiled data from the literature to significantly expand the available data for under-represented taxonomic groups, and combined this with other macroecological datasets to perform comprehensive model comparisons for the species abundance distribution. A multiple model comparison showed that most available models for the species abundance distribution fit the data equivalently well across a diverse array of ecosystems and taxonomic groups.

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