Individuals and the variation needed for high species diversity in forest trees.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In the past, explanations for high species diversity have been sought at the species level. Theory shows that coexistence requires substantial differences between species, but species-level data rarely provide evidence for such differences. Using data from forests in the southeastern United States, I show here that variation evident at the individual level provides for coexistence of large numbers of competitors. Variation among individuals within populations allows species to differ in their distributions of responses to the environment, despite the fact that the populations to which they belong do not differ, on average. Results are consistent with theory predicting that coexistence depends on competition being stronger within than between species, shown here by analysis of individual-level responses to environmental fluctuation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Clark, JS

Published Date

  • February 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 327 / 5969

Start / End Page

  • 1129 - 1132

PubMed ID

  • 20185724

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-9203

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0036-8075

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1126/science.1183506


  • eng