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      Species richness and morphological diversity of passerine birds.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Animals, Appetitive Behavior, physiology, Beak, anatomy & histology, Biodiversity, Body Weights and Measures, Diet, Ecosystem, Linear Models, Lower Extremity, Passeriformes, classification, Principal Component Analysis, Species Specificity, Wing

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          Abstract

          The relationship between species richness and the occupation of niche space can provide insight into the processes that shape patterns of biodiversity. For example, if species interactions constrained coexistence, one might expect tendencies toward even spacing within niche space and positive relationships between diversity and total niche volume. I use morphological diversity of passerine birds as a proxy for diet, foraging maneuvers, and foraging substrates and examine the morphological space occupied by regional and local passerine avifaunas. Although independently diversified regional faunas exhibit convergent morphology, species are clustered rather than evenly distributed, the volume of the morphological space is weakly related to number of species per taxonomic family, and morphological volume is unrelated to number of species within both regional avifaunas and local assemblages. These results seemingly contradict patterns expected when species interactions constrain regional or local diversity, and they suggest a larger role for diversification, extinction, and dispersal limitation in shaping species richness.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          22908271
          3437851
          10.1073/pnas.1212079109

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