Skip to Main Content
The utility of covariances: a response to Ranta et alAuthor(s): J.E. Houlahan; K. Cottenie; G.S. Cumming; D.J. Currie; C.S. Findlay; U. Gaedke; P. Legendre; J.J. Magnuson; B.H. McArdle; R.D. Stevens; I.P. Woiwod; S.M. Wondzell
Source: Oikos. 117: 1912-1913
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
View PDF (589.63 KB)
DescriptionIn an earlier publication (Houlahan et al. 2007) we reviewed trends in population covariances within communities across a range of long-term empirical data sets. We used these results to argue that compensatory dynamics are rare in natural communities. Ranta et al. (2008) explored interspecific interactions in a simulated environment and showed that 'negative community covariance can be absent even in strongly competitive communities and can be found present in communities without competitive interactions'. On this basis they conclude that 'the negative community covariance method . .. is of limited practical value when attempting to detect the presence of interspecific interactions among species in a community, or the relative importance of competition and environment in driving population fluctuations.' There are three closely related points to consider here: first, exactly what is shown by demonstrating an absence of negative community covariance in some strongly competitive communities; second, what is shown by demonstrating negative community covariance in the absence of competition; and third, what these results say about the general utility of the community covariance method.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationHoulahan, J.E.; Cottenie, K.; Cumming, G.S.; Currie, D.J.; Findlay, C.S.; Gaedke, U.; Legendre, P.; Magnuson, J.J.; McArdle, B.H.; Stevens, R.D.; Woiwod, I.P.; Wondzell, S.M. 2008. The utility of covariances: a response to Ranta et al. Oikos. 117: 1912-1913.
Keywordsdiversity, competition, community dynamics, biological interactions, neutral models
- New insights into the ecology of Phytophthora ramorum in streams
- Negative plant-soil feedbacks increase with plant abundance, and are unchanged by competition
- Is stumping a wise solution for the long-term: The problem of phenotype-environmental mismatch
XML: View XML