Skip to Main Content
Temporal fluctuation scaling in populations and communitiesAuthor(s): Michael Kalyuzhny; Yishai Schreiber; Rachel Chocron; Curtis H. Flather; David A. Kessler; Nadav M. Shnerb
Source: Ecology. 95(6): 1701-1709.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (478.21 KB)
DescriptionTaylor's law, one of the most widely accepted generalizations in ecology, states that the variance of a population abundance time series scales as a power law of its mean. Here we reexamine this law and the empirical evidence presented in support of it. Specifically, we show that the exponent generally depends on the length of the time series, and its value reflects the combined effect of many underlying mechanisms. Moreover, sampling errors alone, when presented on a double logarithmic scale, are sufficient to produce an apparent power law. This raises questions regarding the usefulness of Taylor's law for understanding ecological processes. As an alternative approach, we focus on short-term fluctuations and derive a generic null model for the variance-to-mean ratio in population time series from a demographic model that incorporates the combined effects of demographic and environmental stochasticity. After comparing the predictions of the proposed null model with the fluctuations observed in empirical data sets, we suggest an alternative expression for fluctuation scaling in population time series. Analyzing population fluctuations as we have proposed here may provide new applied (e.g., estimation of species persistence times) and theoretical (e.g., the neutral theory of biodiversity) insights that can be derived from more generally available short-term monitoring data.
- You may send email to email@example.com 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.
CitationKalyuzhny, Michael; Schreiber, Yishai; Chocron, Rachel; Flather, Curtis H.; Kessler, David A.; Shnerb, Nadav M. 2014. Temporal fluctuation scaling in populations and communities. Ecology. 95(6): 1701-1709.
Keywordsbirds, demographic noise, environmental stochasticity, population abundance variance, sampling error, Taylor's law, temporal variance, trees, variance-mean relations
- Variation in individual biomass decreases faster than mean biomass with increasing density of bamboo stands
- Power laws in cone production of longleaf pine across its native range in the United States
- Spatio-temporal dynamics of a tree-killing beetle and its predator
XML: View XML