Quantitative aspects of community structure examined in a semi-arid grassland

Citation
Jb. Wilson et al., Quantitative aspects of community structure examined in a semi-arid grassland, J ECOLOGY, 88(5), 2000, pp. 749-756
Citations number
44
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Environment/Ecology
Journal title
JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY
ISSN journal
0022-0477 → ACNP
Volume
88
Issue
5
Year of publication
2000
Pages
749 - 756
Database
ISI
SICI code
0022-0477(200010)88:5<749:QAOCSE>2.0.ZU;2-U
Abstract
1 Community structure was examined by analysing the spatial distribution of species' biomass-abundance, as well as species' occurrences, in two semi-a rid grassland sites in New Zealand. This is the first attempt to search for a range of assembly rules (variance in species occurrence, guild proportio nality and intrinsic guilds) using quantitative data. 2 One site, with a greater proportion of native species, had a larger speci es pool, greater species richness and greater biomass. At this site, varian ce in richness was generally greater than expected at random, but variance in biomass tended to be less than expected at random, probably indicating c ompetition. Microsites which had lower biomass and fewer species tended to be dominated by exotic species; it is suggested that these are more recentl y disturbed microsites. 3 At a second site, dominated by exotic species, there was no significant e vidence for community structure, i.e. no non-random patterns in richness or biomass, i.e. no assembly rules. 4 Guild proportionality was not seen in a priori guilds: dicots, monocots, cryptogams, native species and exotic species. 5 Searches for intrinsic guilds produced no evidence of guild structure, in the Pianka sense of groups of species that use similar resources, compete strongly with each other, and thus are especially subject to mutual competi tive exclusion. 6 It is concluded that interspecific competition limits the biomass of each species in these grasslands, but there is no evidence from the community s tructure that it causes local competitive exclusion. There was no indicatio n at either site that the communities were structured by guilds. It is conc luded that, at least at the scale examined and at the time examined, Pianka -type guilds do not exist in this vegetation.