Plotkin, Joshua B and Potts, Matthew D and Yu, Douglas W and Bunyavejchewin, Sarayudh and Condit, Richard and Sukumar, Raman and Foster, Robin B and Hubbell, Stephen and LaFrankie, James and Manokaranj, N and Leek, Hua-Seng and Nowaka, Martin A and Ashtonm, Peter S (2000) Predicting species diversity in tropical forests. In: Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, 97 (20). pp. 10850-10854.
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A fundamental question in ecology is how many species occur within a given area. Despite the complexity and diversity of different ecosystems. there exists a surprisingly simple, approximate answer: the number of species is proportional to the size of the area raised to some exponent. The exponent often turns out to be roughly 1/4. This power law can be derived from assumptions about the relative abundances of species or from notions of self-similarity. Here we analyze the largest existing data set of location-mapped species: over one million, individually identified trees from five tropical forests on three continents. Although the power law is a reasonable, zeroth-order approximation of our data, we find consistent deviations from it on all spatial scales. Furthermore, tropical forests are not self-similar at areas less \leq 50 hectares. We develop an extended model of the species-area relationship, which enables us to predict large-scale species diversity from small-scale data samples more accurately than any other available method.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Additional Information:||Copyright of this article belongs to National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America.|
|Department/Centre:||Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences|
|Date Deposited:||04 Nov 2009 09:45|
|Last Modified:||19 Sep 2010 05:00|
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