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Community structure

diversity
composition
keystone species
succession

Species diversity
more food resources
more habitats
more resilience
greater diversity = greater stability

Species diversity
Variety of organisms that make up
the community
Species richness

Total number of different species

relative abundance

proportion each species represents

T W O C O M M U N I T I E S C A N H AV E T H E
SAME SPECIES RICHNESS BUT A
D I F F E R E N T R E L AT I V E A B U N D A N C E

BASIC METHODOLOGY
TRANSECT SAMPLING
Line Intercept Transect Sampling:
Measure length of contact by the

feature of interest (intercept).

Compare with total length of transect.


Results are usually relative values

expressed as percentages. e. g. % shrub


cover

Transects are usually straight lines, but

may be curved or circular.

D ATA C O L L E C T I O N

Community Structure
There are several quantitative species diversity indices.

The one most commonly used is the Shannon index:

pi = proportion of individuals in the ith species


s = number of species in the community

last man to bat 0.400


1941

Mathematical indices
Shannons index
information index
diversity can be measured much
like the information contained in a
the longer and more complex the
code, the greater the diversity).
Affected by evenness
More sp + more even =
greater Shannon index

Compared to 1st forest stand, this stand has less


species. Also, two species make up 83.5% of the
total tree density.

Shannons index
Calculation

STEP 1:
ADD ALL OF THE
OBSERVED NUMBERS
TOGETHER TO GET
T O TA L

Shannons index
Calculation

STEP 2:
FOR EACH SPECIES
DIVIDE OBSERVED
N U M B E R S B Y T O TA L

SO 17 /20 = 0.85
THIS IS OUR
P R O P O RT I O N VA L U E P I

Shannons index
Calculation

STEP 3:
TA K E T H E N AT U R A L
LOG OF PI
N AT U R A L L O G O F 0 . 8 5
= -0.163

STEP 4:
- 0 . 1 6 3 M U LT I P LY B Y P I
0.163 X 0.8 = -0.139

STEP 5:
ADD ALL THESE
TOGETHER AND
CHANGE THE SIGN
STEP 6:
R E P E AT S T E P S 1
THROUGH 5 FOR EACH
ECOSYSTEM

STEP 7:
C O M PA R E E C O S Y S T E M S

what does that mean?


Pop 2

Pop 1

If the species are evenly


distributed then the H value would
Values of the Shannon's diversity
index for real communities
typically fall between 1.5 and 3.5.

High values of H represent


more diverse communities

Pop 1

Pop 2

RANK ABUNDANCE CURVES


Species diversity indices allow ecologists to compare
different communities.
Graphical representations of species diversity can give a
more explicit view of commonness or rarity.
Rank abundance curves plot the proportional abundance
of each species (pi) relative to the others in rank order.

ARE SPECIES COMMON OR RARE?

Rank-abundance diagram
slower slope = higher evenness
longer length of curve = higher species

S P E C I E S D I V E R S I T Y: S I M P S O N S I N D E X

Mathematical indices
Simpson index
diversity
2 random samples contain
same taxon
Low # = 0 = all taxa equally
present
High # = 1 = one taxon
dominant

COMMUNITY SIMILARITY
Another one is Percent Similarity (PS)
Based on the relative abundance
PS= add the lowest percentage for each species that

the communities have in common

PS=29.7+4.7+4.3+
+0.4=47.2
PS ranges from 0 to 100

SPECIES RICHNESS
AND SPECIES
EVENNESS

PAT T E R N S O F
SPECIES RICHNESS
Species richness changes with

latitude (distance from


equator)
The closer a community is to

the equator, the more species


it will contain
Species richness greater in

tropical rain forests


Cover 3% of planet but

contain 50% of worlds species

HYPOTHESIS 1

Temperate habitats are younger


Formed from since last ice age
Tropical habitats not affected

by ice ages

Climate is more stable in

tropics

Allowed species to specialize to

greater extent than in


temperate regions where
climate changes more

HYPOTHESIS 2

Because plants can do

photosynthesis year round


in tropics there is more
energy to support more
organisms

Probably the species

richness is a combination
of several things

THE SPECIESAREA EFFECT


Another pattern of species

richness is that larger areas


usually have more species
than smaller areas

This is the species-area effect


Most often applied to islands
Area clearly limited by

geography