Patterns In Nature: The Analysis Of Species Co-occurrences

Hardcover | November 10, 2015

byJames G. Sanderson, Stuart L. Pimm

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What species occur where, and why, and why some places harbor more species than others are basic questions for ecologists. Some species simply live in different places: fish live underwater; birds do not. Adaptations follow: most fish have gills; birds have lungs. But as Patterns in Nature reveals, not all patterns are so trivial.

Travel from island to island and the species change. Travel along any gradient—up a mountain, from forest into desert, from low tide to high tide on a shoreline —and again the species change, sometimes abruptly. What explains the patterns of these distributions? Some patterns might be as random as a coin toss. But as with a coin toss, can ecologists differentiate associations caused by a multiplicity of complex, idiosyncratic factors from those structured by some unidentified but simple mechanisms? Can simple mechanisms that structure communities be inferred from observations of which species associations naturally occur? For decades, community ecologists have debated about whether the patterns are random or show the geographically pervasive effect of competition between species. Bringing this vigorous debate up to date, this book undertakes the identification and interpretation of nature’s large-scale patterns of species co-occurrence to offer insight into how nature truly works.

Patterns in Nature explains the computing and conceptual advances that allow us to explore these issues. It forces us to reexamine assumptions about species distribution patterns and will be of vital importance to ecologists and conservationists alike.

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What species occur where, and why, and why some places harbor more species than others are basic questions for ecologists. Some species simply live in different places: fish live underwater; birds do not. Adaptations follow: most fish have gills; birds have lungs. But as Patterns in Nature reveals, not all patterns are so trivial. Trav...

James G. Sanderson is a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group, fellow of the Wildlife Conservation Network, and founder and director of the Small Wild Cat Conservation Foundation. He is coauthor of Small Wild Cats: The Animal Answer Guide. Stuart L. Pimm is the Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University. He is th...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:184 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.7 inPublished:November 10, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629272X

ISBN - 13:9780226292724

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Preface

Part I. The Distribution of Species on Islands

Chapter 1. Patterns or Fantasies?
Species Co-occurrences
The Night Sky Effect
Patterns in Nature
Finding the Null
What This Book Is About
How This Book Is Organized

Chapter 2. Diamond’s Assembly Rules
Robert MacArthur, 1930–1972
Special Islands and Their Birds
What Is a Checkerboard Distribution?
Incidence
The Theoretical Context
The Cuckoo Doves
Patchy Distributions
Summary

Chapter 3. The Response of Connor and Simberloff
The Backlash
How Likely Are Checkerboards?
Prior Expectations
The Analysis of Vanuatu
Summary

Part II. A Technical Interlude

Chapter 4. How to Incorporate Constraints into Incidence Matrices
Definitions and Notation
The Numbers of Null Matrices and the Effect of Constraints
The Hypergeometric Distribution
The Three Ecological Constraints Proposed by Connor and Simberloff in Their Studies of Birds and Bats on Islands
Incidence
Why Constraints? And What Does “Representative” Mean?
Summary

Chapter 5. How to Fill the Sample Null Space
Null Space Creation Algorithms
Creating a Uniform Random Sample Null Space
The Trial-Swap Algorithm
Summary

Chapter 6. How to Characterize Incidence Matrices
Then You Need a Metric . . .
The Metric of Connor and Simberloff (1979)
Wright and Biehl (1982)
Harvey et al.’s (1983) Review of Null Models in Ecology
Stone and Roberts (1990, 1992) and Roberts and Stone (1990)
Why Ensemble Metrics Fail—An Example
Summary

Part III. Reanalysis and Extensions

Chapter 7. Vanuatu and the Galápagos
The Birds of Vanuatu
The Birds of the Galápagos
Summary

Chapter 8. The Birds of the Bismarck and Solomon Islands
The Issue of Superspecies
The Patterns
Taxonomic Sieving and Incidence Effects
Which Genera Develop Checkerboards?
Caveats
When the Incidences Do Not Overlap
Summary
Coda

Chapter 9. Species along a Gradient
The Herptofauna of Mount Kupe, Cameroon
Why Do the Results Differ from Previous Results?
The Second Question: Do Species Form Distinct Communities?
Summary

Chapter 10. Applications to Food Webs: Nestedness and Reciprocal Specialization
Nestedness
Groupings of Species Interactions
Summary

Chapter 11. Coda
MacArthur’s Original Vision
The Patterns Themselves
The Need for Null Hypotheses

References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“A very interesting book on large-scale species distribution patterns, this is not a repeat of what has been published voluminously on the debate between Diamond and Connor/Simberloff, but a well-written, fairly balanced, and updated account of the positive contributions to science from both camps and the lessons that we all can learn from such heated debates. For those who are interested in island biogeography, for those who are enthused by ‘laws’ in ecology, and for those who are intrigued by historical developments in community ecology and beyond, this is a fascinating read. And for those who want to learn useful techniques and algorithms in null model analysis, Patterns in Nature is an entertaining and valuable book.”