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    Author(s): J.E. Houlahan; D.J. Currie; K. Cottenie; G.S. Cumming; S.K.M. Ernest; C.S. Findlay; S.D. Fuhlendorf; R.D. Stevens; T.J. Willis; I.P. Woiwod; S.M. Wondzell
    Date: 2007
    Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104(9): 3273-3277
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.07 MB)


    Hubbell recently presented a theoretical framework, neutral models, for explaining large-scale patterns of community structure. This theory rests on the foundation of zero-sum ecological communities, that is, the assumption that the number of individuals in a community stays constant over time. If community abundances stay relatively constant, (i.e. approximating the zero-sum assumption) there is a key deductive prediction that on average across the entire community there should be strong negative covariance among species. We have used measures of community covariance to test for zero-sum dynamics in 36 natural communities (at different scales and composed of different taxa) and find that few communities exhibit dynamics consistent with the zero-sum assumption.

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    Houlahan, J.E.; Currie, D.J.; Cottenie, K.; Cumming, G.S.; Ernest, S.K.M.; Findlay, C.S.; Fuhlendorf, S.D.; Stevens, R.D.; Willis, T.J.; Woiwod, I.P.; Wondzell, S.M. 2007. Compensatory dynamics are rare in natural ecological communities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 104(9): 3273-3277


    Neutral models, community dynamics, diversity, competition

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