The coherence problem with the Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity.

Published

Journal Article

The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity (UNTB), proposed as an alternative to niche theory, has been viewed as a theory that species coexist without niche differences, without fitness differences, or with equal probability of success. Support is claimed when models lacking species differences predict highly aggregated metrics, such as species abundance distributions (SADs) or species area distributions (SARs). Here, I summarize why UNTB generates confusion, and is not actually relevant to niche theory (i.e. an explanation for why and how many species coexist). Equal probability is not a theory, but lack of one; it does not include or exclude any process relevant to coexistence of competitors. Models lacking explicit species can make useful predictions, but this does not support neutral theory. I provide s suggestions that could help reduce confusion generated by the debate.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Clark, JS

Published Date

  • April 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 198 - 202

PubMed ID

  • 22401902

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22401902

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1872-8383

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0169-5347

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.tree.2012.02.001

Language

  • eng