Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Linking species abundance distributions in numerical abundance and biomass through simple assumptions about community structure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

DOI

Abstract

Species abundance distributions (SADs) are widely used as a tool for summarizing ecological communities but may have different shapes, depending on the currency used to measure species importance. We develop a simple plotting method that links SADs in the alternative currencies of numerical abundance and biomass and is underpinned by testable predictions about how organisms occupy physical space. When log numerical abundance is plotted against log biomass, the species lie within an approximately triangular region. Simple energetic and sampling constraints explain the triangular form. The dispersion of species within this triangle is the key to understanding why SADs of numerical abundance and biomass can differ. Given regular or random species dispersion, we can predict the shape of the SAD for both currencies under a variety of sampling regimes. We argue that this dispersion pattern will lie between regular and random for the following reasons. First, regular dispersion patterns will result if communities are comprised groups of organisms that use different components of the physical space (e. g. open water, the sea bed surface or rock crevices in a marine fish assemblage), and if the abundance of species in each of these spatial guilds is linked to the way individuals of varying size use the habitat. Second, temporal variation in abundance and sampling error will tend to randomize this regular pattern. Data from two intensively studied marine ecosystems offer empirical support for these predictions. Our approach also has application in environmental monitoring and the recognition of anthropogenic disturbance, which may change the shape of the triangular region by, for example, the loss of large body size top predators that occur at low abundance.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1561-1570
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume277
Issue number1687
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2010

    Research areas

  • species abundance, biomass, community structure, relative abundance, species abundance distribution, guilds, DESERT RODENT COMMUNITY, FRACTAL DIMENSION, DIVIDE RESOURCES, BODY-SIZE, LANDSCAPES, DYNAMICS, PATTERNS

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Global change in the functional diversity of marine fisheries exploitation over the past 65 years

    Trindade Santos, I., Moyes, F. H. & Magurran, A., 26 Aug 2020, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287, 1933, 8 p., 20200889.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Recent increases in assemblage rarity are linked to increasing local immigration

    Jones, F. A. M., Dornelas, M. & Magurran, A., 29 Jul 2020, In: Royal Society Open Science. 7, 7, 9 p., 192045.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Landscape-scale forest loss as a catalyst of population and biodiversity change

    Daskalova, G. N., Myers-Smith, I. H., Bjorkman, A. D., Blowes, S. A., Supp, S. R., Magurran, A. E. & Dornelas, M., 19 Jun 2020, In: Science. 368, 6497, p. 1341-1347

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Temperature-related biodiversity change across temperate marine and terrestrial systems

    Antão, L. H., Bates, A. E., Blowes, S. A., Waldock, C., Supp, S. R., Magurran, A. E., Dornelas, M. & Schipper, A. M., 4 May 2020, In: Nature Ecology and Evolution.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. Drivers of diversity gradients of a highly mobile marine assemblage in a mesoscale seascape

    Svendsen, G. M., Ocampo Reinaldo, M., Alejandra Romero, M., Williams, G., Magurran, A., Luque, S. & Gonzalez, R. A., 19 Mar 2020, In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 638, p. 149-164 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Oscar Eduardo Gaggiotti (Member of editorial board)

    1 Jan 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)

    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Michael Gordon Ritchie (Editor)

    20102011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)

    2009 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Iain McCombe Matthews (Editor)

    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. A gene’s-eye view of sexual antagonism

    Hitchcock, T. & Gardner, A., 12 Aug 2020, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences. 287, 1932, 9 p., 20201633.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Global change in the functional diversity of marine fisheries exploitation over the past 65 years

    Trindade Santos, I., Moyes, F. H. & Magurran, A., 26 Aug 2020, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287, 1933, 8 p., 20200889.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Numerical ordinality in a wild nectarivore

    Vámos, T. I. F., Tello-Ramos, M. C., Hurly, T. A. & Healy, S. D., 8 Jul 2020, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287, 1930, 20201269.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Rats play tit-for-tat instead of integrating social experience over multiple interactions

    Schweinfurth, M. K. & Taborsky, M., 15 Jan 2020, In: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 287, 1918, 20192423.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 1728998

Top