Coexistence and relative abundance in forest trees


Kelly, C.K. and Bowler, M.G. (2002) Coexistence and relative abundance in forest trees. Nature, 417, 437-440. (doi:10.1038/417437a).

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Original Publication URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/417437a

Description/Abstract

Contemporary acceleration of biodiversity loss makes increasingly urgent the need to understand the controls of species coexistence1, 2. Tree diversity in particular plays a pivotal role in determining terrestrial biodiversity, through maintaining diversity of its dependent species3, 4 and with them, their predators and parasites. Most theories of coexistence based on the principle of limiting similarity suggest that coexistence of competing species is inherently unstable; coexistence of competitors must be maintained by external forces such as disturbance5, 6, immigration7 or 'patchiness' of resources in space and time8, 9. In contrast, storage theory postulates stable coexistence of competing species through temporal alternation of conditions favouring recruitment of one species over the other10, 11. Here we use storage theory to develop explicit predictions for relative differences between competitors that allow us to discriminate between coexistence models. Data on tree species from a primary forest on the Mexican Pacific coast support a general dynamic of storage processes determining coexistence of similar tree species in this community, and allow us to reject all other theories of coexistence.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0028-0836 (print)
Related URLs:
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Biological Sciences
ePrint ID: 55754
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:38
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55754

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