The coherence problem with the Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity.
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.
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