Species-Area Relationships Are Controlled by Species Traits
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: PLoS One
Förlag: Public Library Science
The species-area relationship (SAR) is one of the most thoroughly investigated empirical relationships in ecology. Two theories have been proposed to explain SARs: classical island biogeography theory and niche theory. Classical island biogeography theory considers the processes of persistence, extinction, and colonization, whereas niche theory focuses on species requirements, such as habitat and resource use. Recent studies have called for the unification of these two theories to better explain the underlying mechanisms that generates SARs. In this context, species traits that can be related to each theory seem promising. Here we analyzed the SARs of butterfly and moth assemblages on islands differing in size and isolation. We tested whether species traits modify the SAR and the response to isolation. In addition to the expected overall effects on the area, traits related to each of the two theories increased the model fit, from 69% up to 90%. Steeper slopes have been shown to have a particularly higher sensitivity to area, which was indicated by species with restricted range (slope = 0.82), narrow dietary niche (slope = 0.59), low abundance (slope = 0.52), and low reproductive potential (slope = 0.51). We concluded that considering species traits by analyzing SARs yields considerable potential for unifying island biogeography theory and niche theory, and that the systematic and predictable effects observed when considering traits can help to guide conservation and management actions.
- ISSN: 1932-6203