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      Not enough niches: non-equilibrial processes promoting species coexistence in diverse ant communities

      Austral Ecology

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          Most cited references 90

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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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            Community diversity: relative roles of local and regional processes.

            The species richness (diversity) of local plant and animal assemblages-biological communities-balances regional processes of species formation and geographic dispersal, which add species to communities, against processes of predation, competitive exclusion, adaptation, and stochastic variation, which may promote local extinction. During the past three decades, ecologists have sought to explain differences in local diversity by the influence of the physical environment on local interactions among species, interactions that are generally believed to limit the number of coexisting species. But diversity of the biological community often fails to converge under similar physical conditions, and local diversity bears a demonstrable dependence upon regional diversity. These observations suggest that regional and historical processes, as well as unique events and circumstances, profoundly influence local community structure. Ecologists must broaden their concepts of community processes and incorporate data from systematics, biogeography, and paleontology into analyses of ecological patterns and tests of community theory.
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              The Paradox of the Plankton

               G. Hutchinson (1961)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Austral Ecology
                Austral Ecol
                Wiley-Blackwell
                1442-9985
                1442-9993
                April 2008
                April 2008
                : 33
                : 2
                : 211-220
                Article
                10.1111/j.1442-9993.2007.01810.x
                © 2008

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