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Species richness and evenness in Australian birds

Symonds, Matthew R. E. and Johnson, Christopher N. 2008, Species richness and evenness in Australian birds, American naturalist, vol. 171, no. 4, pp. 480-490, doi: 10.1086/528960.

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Title Species richness and evenness in Australian birds
Author(s) Symonds, Matthew R. E.ORCID iD for Symonds, Matthew R. E. orcid.org/0000-0002-9785-6045
Johnson, Christopher N.
Journal name American naturalist
Volume number 171
Issue number 4
Start page 480
End page 490
Total pages 11
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Place of publication Chicago, Ill.
Publication date 2008-04
ISSN 0003-0147
1537-5323
Keyword(s) abundance
community structure
energy availability
evapotranspiration
NDVI
species‐energy theory
Summary Species richness and evenness are the two major components of biodiversity, but the way in which they are interrelated is a subject of contention. We found a negative relationship between the two variables for bird communities at 92 woodland sites across Australia and sought an explanation. Actual evapotranspiration (AET) was by far the best predictor of species richness. When AET was controlled for, the relationship between richness and evenness became nonsignificant. Richness is greater at sites with higher AET because such sites support a greater number of individuals. However, such sites have a greater number of rare species, resulting in lower evenness. A complicating factor is that evenness is best predicted by degree of vegetation cover, with sparsely vegetated sites having significantly lower evenness. We conclude that there are two competing ecological processes, related to energy and water availability, that determine richness and evenness. The first drives total abundance (leading to high richness, low evenness), while the second drives productivity and niche availability (leading to high richness, high evenness). The relative strength of these two processes and the observed relationship between richness and evenness are likely to depend on the scale of the analysis and the species and range of habitats studied.
Language eng
DOI 10.1086/528960
Field of Research 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology)
060809 Vertebrate Biology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, University of Chicago Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30039071

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.