Effects of population level aggregation, autocorrelation,and interspecific association on the speciestimerelationship in two desert communities

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Evolutionary Ecology Research




Evolutionary Ecology

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Question: Can population-level patterns be used to model the species-time relationship? Which non-random patterns in population time-series are necessary for modelling the species-time relationship? Statistical modelling methods: The presence of aggregation, autocorrelation, and interspecific association was determined using Morisita's IM, Moran's I, and Ive's C respectively. Models for the species-time relationship were constructed from these sub-patterns using a combination of analytical models and randomization methods. Data studied: Observational time-series of rodents and annual plants in the Chihuahuan Desert. Conclusions: Aggregation was observed in the majority of population time-series. Most rodent species, but fewer than 10% of plant species, exhibited significant temporal autocorrelation in abundance. Models that included temporal autocorrelation as well as aggregation provided the best fit to the species-time relationship. The species-time relationship is intimately connected to the population dynamics of individual species. Models that attempt to connect the apparently general behaviour of the species-time relationship to the complex dynamics of populations are important for understanding the dynamics of ecological communities.

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