Apr 20, 2020

Analytical models for β-diversity and the power-law scaling of β-deviation

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Dingliang Xing, F. He


{beta}-diversity is a primary biodiversity pattern for inferring community assembly. A randomized null model that generates a standardized {beta}-deviation has been widely used for this purpose. However, the null model has been much debated and its application is limited to abundance data. Here we derive analytical models for {beta}-diversity to address the debate, clarify the interpretation, and extend the application to occurrence data. The analytical analyses show unambiguously that the standardized {beta}-deviation is a quantification of the effect size of non-random spatial distribution of species on {beta}-diversity for a given species abundance distribution. It robustly scales with sampling effort following a power law with exponent of 0.5. This scaling relationship offers a simple method for comparing {beta}-diversity of communities of different sizes. Assuming logseries distribution for the metacommunity species abundance distribution, our model allows for calculation of the standardized {beta}-deviation using occurrence data plus a datum on the total abundance. Our theoretical model justifies and generalizes the use of the {beta} null model for inferring community assembly rules.

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