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      The Humpbacked Species Richness-Curve: A Contingent Rule for Community Ecology

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      International Journal of Ecology
      Hindawi Limited

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          Abstract

          Functional relationships involving species richness may be unimodal, monotonically increasing, monotonically decreasing, bimodal, multimodal, U-shaped, or with no discernable pattern. The unimodal relationships are the most interesting because they suggest dynamic, nonequilibrium community processes. For that reason, they are also contentious. In this paper, we provide a wide-ranging review of the literature on unimodal (humpbacked) species richness-relationships. Though not as widespread as previously thought, unimodal patterns of species richness are often associated with disturbance, predation and herbivory, productivity, spatial heterogeneity, environmental gradients, time, and latitude. These unimodal patterns are contingent on organism and environment; we examine unimodal species richness-curves involving plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, plankton, and microbes in marine, lacustrine, and terrestrial habitats. A goal of future research is to understand the contingent patterns and the complex, interacting processes that generate them.

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          Diversity in tropical rain forests and coral reefs.

          The commonly observed high diversity of trees in tropical rain forests and corals on tropical reefs is a nonequilibrium state which, if not disturbed further, will progress toward a low-diversity equilibrium community. This may not happen if gradual changes in climate favor different species. If equilibrium is reached, a lesser degree of diversity may be sustained by niche diversification or by a compensatory mortality that favors inferior competitors. However, tropical forests and reefs are subject to severe disturbances often enough that equilibrium may never be attained.
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            A General Hypothesis of Species Diversity

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              On Bird Species Diversity

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                International Journal of Ecology
                International Journal of Ecology
                Hindawi Limited
                1687-9708
                1687-9716
                2011
                2011
                : 2011
                :
                : 1-15
                Article
                10.1155/2011/868426
                012f89f9-d7d9-4c57-b092-fdfe3e5d9ba8
                © 2011

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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