A general framework for the distance–decay of similarity in ecological communities


Species spatial turnover, or beta-diversity, induces a decay of community similarity with geographic distance known as the distance-decay relationship. Although this relationship is central to biodiversity and biogeography, its theoretical underpinnings remain poorly understood. Here, we develop a general framework to describe how the distance-decay relationship is influenced by population aggregation and the landscape-scale species-abundance distribution. We utilize this general framework and data from three tropical forests to show that rare species have a weak influence on distance-decay curves, and that overall similarity and rates of decay are primarily influenced by species abundances and population aggregation respectively. We illustrate the utility of the framework by deriving an exact analytical expression of the distance-decay relationship when population aggregation is characterized by the Poisson Cluster Process. Our study provides a foundation for understanding the distance-decay relationship, and for predicting and testing patterns of beta-diversity under competing theories in ecology.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01202.x

Extracted Key Phrases

6 Figures and Tables

Citations per Year

75 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 75 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Morlon2008AGF, title={A general framework for the distance–decay of similarity in ecological communities}, author={H{\'e}l{\`e}ne Morlon and George Bindeh Chuyong and Richard Condit and Stephen P. Hubbell and David Kenfack and Duncan W. Thomas and Renato Valencia and Jessica L. Green}, journal={Ecology Letters}, year={2008}, volume={11}, pages={904 - 917} }