Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Species Abundance Distributions: moving beyond single prediction theories to integration within an ecological framework.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

BJ McGill, RS Etienne, JS Gray, D Alonso, MJ Anderson, HK Benecha, Maria Dornelas, BJ Enquist, J Green, F He, A Hurlbert, Anne Elizabeth Magurran, PA Marquet, BA Maurer, A Ostling, CU Soykan, K Ugland, E White

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Species abundance distributions (SADs) follow one of ecology's oldest and most universal laws - every community shows a hollow curve or hyperbolic shape on a histogram with many rare species and just a few common species. Here, we review theoretical, empirical and statistical developments in the study of SADs. Several key points emerge. (i) Literally dozens of models have been proposed to explain the hollow curve. Unfortunately, very few models are ever rejected, primarily because few theories make any predictions beyond the hollow-curve SAD itself. (ii) Interesting work has been performed both empirically and theoretically, which goes beyond the hollow-curve prediction to provide a rich variety of information about how SADs behave. These include the study of SADs along environmental gradients and theories that integrate SADs with other biodiversity patterns. Central to this body of work is an effort to move beyond treating the SAD in isolation and to integrate the SAD into its ecological context to enable making many predictions. (iii) Moving forward will entail understanding how sampling and scale affect SADs and developing statistical tools for describing and comparing SADs. We are optimistic that SADs can provide significant insights into basic and applied ecological science.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1015
Number of pages21
JournalEcology Letters
Volume10
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007

    Research areas

  • environmental indicators, macroecology, scientific inference, species abundance distributions, RAREFACTION DIVERSITY MEASUREMENT, POISSON LOGNORMAL-DISTRIBUTION, NEUTRAL THEORY, RELATIVE-ABUNDANCE, COMMUNITY STRUCTURE, BODY-SIZE, PLANT-COMMUNITIES, POPULATION ABUNDANCE, GRADIENT ANALYSIS, SPATIAL STRUCTURE

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

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. 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 journalArticle

  2. 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 journalArticle

  3. 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 journalArticle

  4. Mapping human pressures on biodiversity across the planet uncovers anthropogenic threat complexes

    Bowler, D. E., Bjorkman, A. D., Dornelas, M., Myers-Smith, I. H., Navarro, L. M., Niamir, A., Supp, S. R., Waldock, C., Winter, M., Vellend, M., Blowes, S. A., Böhning-Gaese, K., Bruelheide, H., Elahi, R., Antão, L. H., Hines, J., Isbell, F., Jones, H. P., Magurran, A. E., Cabral, J. S. & 1 others, Bates, A. E., 27 Feb 2020, In : People and Nature. Early View, p. 1-15 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Towards a macroscope: leveraging technology to transform the breadth, scale and resolution of macroecological data

    Dornelas, M., Madin, E. M. P., Bunce, M., DiBattista, J. D., Johnson, M., Madin, J. S., Magurran, A. E., McGill, B. J., Pettorelli, N., Pizarro, O., Williams, S. B., Winter, M. & Bates, A. E., 15 Nov 2019, In : Global Ecology and Biogeography. 28, 12, p. 1937-1948 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Ecology Letters (Journal)

    Thomas Robert Meagher (Member of editorial board)

    20012004

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

Related by journal

  1. Accounting for stochasticity in demographic compensation along the elevational range of an alpine plant

    Andrello, M., de Villemereuil, P., Carboni, M., Busson, D., Fortin, M-J., Gaggiotti, O. E. & Till-Bottraud, I., 14 Apr 2020, In : Ecology Letters. 23, 5, p. 870-880 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Uncovering ecological state dynamics with hidden Markov models

    McClintock, B. T., Langrock, R., Gimenez, O., Cam, E., Borchers, D. L., Glennie, R. & Patterson, T. A., 19 Oct 2020, In : Ecology Letters. Early View, 26 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. A balance of winners and losers in the Anthropocene

    Dornelas, M., Gotelli, N. J., Shimadzu, H., Moyes, F., Magurran, A. E. & McGill, B. J., 8 Apr 2019, In : Ecology Letters. 22, 5, p. 847-854 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. More is less: net gain in species richness, but biotic homogenization over 140 years

    Finderup Nielsen, T., Sand-Jensen, K., Dornelas, M. & Bruun, H. H., 1 Oct 2019, In : Ecology Letters. 22, 10, p. 1650-1657

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Survival costs of reproduction are mediated by parasite infection in wild Soay sheep

    Leivesley, J. A., Bussière, L. F., Pemberton, J. M., Pilkington, J. G., Wilson, K. & Hayward, A. D., 20 May 2019, In : Ecology Letters. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 396991

Top