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    Author(s): James S. Clark
    Date: 2012
    Source: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. Cell Press. 27(4): 198-202.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (209.75 KB)

    Description

    The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity (UNTB), proposed as an alternative to niche theory, has been viewed as a theory that species coexist without niche differences, without fitness differences, or with equal probability of success. Support is claimed when models lacking species differences predict highly aggregated metrics, such as species abundance distributions (SADs) or species area distributions (SARs). Here, I summarize why UNTB generates confusion, and is not actually relevant to niche theory (i.e. an explanation for why and how many species coexist). Equal probability is not a theory, but lack of one; it does not include or exclude any process relevant to coexistence of competitors. Models lacking explicit species can make useful predictions, but this does not support neutral theory. I provide s suggestions that could help reduce confusion generated by the debate.

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    Citation

    Clark, James S. 2012. The coherence problem with th Unified Neutral Theory of biodiversity. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Vol. 27(4): 198-202. 5 p.

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