Multiple modes in a coral species abundance distribution

Ecology Letters
Maria Dornelas, Sean R Connolly

Abstract

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.

References

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Citations

Jul 13, 2012·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·Anne E Magurran, Peter A Henderson
Nov 30, 2012·Proceedings. Biological Sciences·A P HercosAnne E Magurran
Dec 25, 2010·Journal of Theoretical Biology·Andrew E NobleTimothy H Keitt
Jun 6, 2009·Ecology Letters·Hélène MorlonTommaso Zillio
Jun 5, 2014·Ecology Letters·Joshua S MadinSean R Connolly
Jun 30, 2010·Ecology Letters·James RosindellRampal S Etienne
Oct 24, 2012·Journal of Theoretical Biology·Junfeng Tang, Shurong Zhou
Jun 23, 2016·Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics·Werner UlrichFernando T Maestre
Sep 15, 2015·PLoS Computational Biology·Sergei Maslov, Kim Sneppen
Mar 21, 2015·PLoS Computational Biology·Omar Al HammalStephen J Cornell
Jan 13, 2018·Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America·Marten SchefferRemi Vergnon
Jun 28, 2015·Applied and Environmental Microbiology·Janus A J HaagensenSøren Molin
Feb 9, 2012·Nature Communications·Remi VergnonMarten Scheffer
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Jul 21, 2017·Ecology and Evolution·Harshana RajakarunaSarah A Bailey
Sep 15, 2016·Physical Review. E·Tomoyuki ObuchiKei Tokita

Related Concepts

Bayesian Prediction
In Silico
Bionomics
Underpopulation
Neomalthusianism
Computer Programs and Programming
Likelihood Functions
Sample Size
Coral
Biodiversity

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