DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL & STATISTICAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
  

MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR
 

 

Occupancy, spatial variance, and the abundance of species

 

Dr. Fangliang He

Department of Renewable Resources

University of Alberta

 

MONDAY NOVEMBER 17, 2003

3:00-4:00 p.m.

CAB 657

 

Abstract:

 

Documenting and understanding the distributions of species and their underlying mechanisms are core objectives of ecology and biogeography. Among the many distributional patterns observed, two considered to exhibit a high level of generality are the positive relationships between mean abundance and both the spatial variance in that abundance and the proportion of sites that are occupied. Although these relationships have attracted enormous interest, and it is clear that they are likely to be linked, little attempt has been made to examine their commonality. Here, a model is generalized to unify these formerly independent patterns and applied to empirical data to show that the two are able to predict each other, and as such are expressions of the same phenomenon. This model can be understood in terms of metapopulation dynamics. The discovery helps provide mechanistic predictions of one pattern from the other and thus enhances our abilities to interpret and predict the distributions of species. A further significance of the study is to raise the importance for studying spatial variance for understanding species persistence in metapopulation systems.