Primate communities are structured more by dispersal limitation than by niches. J Anim Ecol

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Journal of Animal Ecology (Impact Factor: 4.5). 11/2010; 80(2):332-41. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01777.x
Source: PubMed


1. A major goal in community ecology is to identify mechanisms that govern the assembly and maintenance of ecological communities. Current models of metacommunity dynamics differ chiefly in the relative emphasis placed on dispersal limitation and niche differentiation as causal mechanisms structuring ecological communities. Herein we investigate the relative roles of these two mechanisms in structuring primate communities in Africa, South America, Madagascar and Borneo. 2. We hypothesized that if dispersal limitation is important in structuring communities, then community similarity should depend on geographical proximity even after controlling for ecological similarity. Conversely, if communities are assembled primarily through niche processes, then community similarity should be determined by ecological similarity regardless of geographical proximity. 3. We performed Mantel and partial Mantel tests to investigate correlations among primate community similarity, ecological distance and geographical distance. Results showed significant and strongly negative relationships between diurnal primate community similarity and both ecological similarity and geographical distance in Madagascar, but significant and stronger negative relationships between community similarity and geographical distance in African, South American and Bornean metacommunities. 4. We conclude that dispersal limitation is an important determinant of primate community structure and may play a stronger role in shaping the structure of some terrestrial vertebrate communities than niche differentiation. These patterns are consistent with neutral theory. We recommend tests of functional equivalence to determine the extent to which neutral theory may explain primate community composition.

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    • "for maximum elevations). Data analyses Many indices measuring similarity between floras and faunas have been used in the literature, but the Jaccard index was rated highly among the 39 binary similarity indices tested by Shi (1993) and is one of the most commonly used similarity indices, particularly in studies on species turnover (e.g., Buckley and Jetz 2008; Anderson et al. 2011; Beaudrot and Marshall 2011). Thus, we calculated species turnover between each pair of provinces, using the Jaccard index of similarity (J) defined as a/(a + b + c), where a is the number of species shared between two localities, and b and c are the numbers of species unique to each locality (Legendre and Legendre 1998). "

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    • "One of the central goals of ecology is to identify the mechanisms that govern community assembly and structure (Horner-Devine et al. 2007, Beaudrot & Marshall 2011). Whether the co-occurrence of species is random or dictated by species interaction or abiotic factors is still a matter of debate. "

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