Prevalence of multimodal species abundance distributions…


Multimodal SADs linked to spatial and taxonomic breadth

Species abundance distributions (SADs) depict the relative abundance of the species present in a community and describe one of the most fundamental patterns of species diversity. A study led by Laura looking into multimodality in SADs, in collaboration with Sean Connolly, Anne, Amadeu Soares and Maria was recently published in Global Ecology and Biogeography.


In this study, we analysed over 100 datasets covering different taxa and habitats, and showed that c. 15% of the SADs were multimodal with strong support, indicating that multimodality is a more common pattern than currently appreciated. We also showed that this pattern is more prevalent for communities encompassing broader spatial scales or greater taxonomic diversity, suggesting that multimodality increases with ecological heterogeneity. Our analysis shows that multimodality occurs with a prevalence that warrants its systematic consideration when assessing SAD shape and emphasizes the need for macroecological theories to include multimodality in the range of SADs they predict. Furthermore, differences in SAD shape across different scales provide important insights into the current endeavour of biodiversity scaling.

Prevalence of multimodal species abundance distributions is linked to spatial and taxonomic breadth. Laura Henriques Antão, Sean R. Connolly, Anne E. Magurran, Amadeu Soares & Maria Dornelas. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2016. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12532