Disturbance macroecology: a comparative study of community structure metrics in a high‐severity disturbance regime
AuthorNewman, Erica A.
Wilber, Mark Q.
Kopper, Karen E.
Moritz, Max A.
Falk, Donald A.
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
Univ Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm
KeywordsBishop pine (Pinus muricata)
California Floristic Province
closed-cone pine forest
Maximum Entropy Theory of Ecology (METE)
species abundance distribution
MetadataShow full item record
CitationNewman, E. A., Wilber, M. Q., Kopper, K. E., Moritz, M. A., Falk, D. A., McKenzie, D., & Harte, J. (2020). Disturbance macroecology: a comparative study of community structure metrics in a high‐severity disturbance regime. Ecosphere, 11(1), e03022.
Rights© 2020 The Authors. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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AbstractMacroecological studies have established widespread patterns of species diversity and abundance in ecosystems but have generally restricted their scope to relatively steady-state systems. As a result, how macroecological metrics are expected to scale in ecosystems that experience natural disturbance regimes is unknown. We examine macroecological patterns in a fire-dependent forest of Bishop pine (Pinus muricata). We target two different-aged stands in a stand-replacing fire regime: a mature stand with a diverse understory and with no history of major disturbance for at least 40 yr, and one disturbed by a stand-replacing fire 17 yr prior to measurement. We compare properties of these stands with macroecological predictions from the Maximum Entropy Theory of Ecology (METE), an information entropy-based theory that has proven highly successful in predicting macroecological metrics in multiple ecosystems and taxa. Ecological patterns in the mature stand more closely match METE predictions than do data from the more recently disturbed, mid-seral stage stand. This suggests METE's predictions are more robust in late-successional, slowly changing, or steady-state systems than those in rapid flux with respect to species composition, abundances, and organisms' sizes. Our findings highlight the need for a macroecological theory that incorporates natural disturbance, perturbations, and ecological dynamics into its predictive capabilities, because most natural systems are not in a steady state.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsDivision of Graduate Education
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2020 The Authors. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.