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Species traits and the form of individual species–energy relationships

Evans, K.L., Jackson, S.F., Greenwood, J.J.D. and Gaston, K.J. (2006) Species traits and the form of individual species–energy relationships. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 273 (1595). pp. 1779-1787. ISSN 1471-2954


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Environmental energy availability explains much of the spatial variation in species richness at regional scales. While numerous mechanisms that may drive such total species–energy relationships have been identified, knowledge of their relative contributions is scant. Here, we adopt a novel approach to identify these drivers that exploits the composite nature of species richness, i.e. its summation from individual species distributions. We construct individual species–energy relationships (ISERs) for each species in the British breeding avifauna using both solar (temperature) and productive energy metrics (normalized difference vegetation index) as measures of environmental energy availability. We use the slopes of these relationships and the resultant change in deviance, relative to a null model, as measures of their strength and use them as response variables in multiple regressions that use ecological traits as predictors. The commonest species exhibit the strongest ISERs, which is counter to the prediction derived from the more individuals hypothesis.

There is no evidence that predatory species have stronger ISERs, which is incompatible with the suggestion that high levels of energy availability increase the length of the food chain allowing larger numbers of predators to exist. We find some evidence that species with narrow niche breadths have stronger ISERs, thus providing one of the few pieces of supportive evidence that high-energy availability promotes species richness by increasing the occurrence of specialist species that use a narrow range of resources.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 The Royal Society. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: British breeding birds, macroecology, NDVI, niche breadth, species–energy relationships, temperature
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > School of Biological Sciences (Sheffield) > Department of Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2016 04:31
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2006.3487
Status: Published
Publisher: The Royal Society
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2006.3487
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1335

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