NCEAS Project 10901

Coexistence, competition, and character evolution in carnivores and primates

  • T. Jonathan Davies

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow1st February 2007—10th January 2010Participant List  

Explaining species coexistence is one of the principal goals of ecology. Competition is thought to inhibit coexistence among species occupying the same ecological niche. Hence species sharing similar ecological traits are predicted to overlap less in their geographical range. However, the lack of robust null models and the scarcity of appropriate data have meant that the importance of competition in structuring ecological communities has proven hard to evaluate and remains controversial. In addition, other factors may dominate patterns of species overlap and trait similarity; for example, sympatric species might be similar due to convergent evolution as a consequence of sharing a similar environment or they may have only recently diverged, and therefore be similar by descent. Phylogenetic approaches enable the confounding influence of evolutionary history to be controlled for, and provide a simple null model for evaluating the relationship between coexistence and character divergence. This project uses new species-level phylogenetic trees along with extensive databases on species traits and distributions within mammals, to perform global analyses of species overlap and divergence across multiple carnivore and primate communities. Specifically, this project aims to evaluate whether divergence in ecological traits facilitates coexistence in these clades.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Cadotte, Marc W.; Davies, T. Jonathan; Regetz, Jim; Kembel, Steven W.; Cleland, Elsa E.; Oakley, Todd H. 2010. Phylogenetic diversity metrics for ecological communities: Integrating species richness, abundance and evolutionary history. Ecology Letters. Vol: 13. Pages 96-105.
Journal Article Cadotte, Marc W.; Davies, T. Jonathan. 2010. Rarest of the rare: Advances in combining evolutionary distinctiveness and scarcity to inform conservation at biogeographical scales. Diversity and Distributions. Vol: 16(3). Pages 376-385. (Online version)
Journal Article Davies, T. Jonathan; Meiri, Shai; Barraclough, Timothy G.; Gittleman, John L. 2007. Species co-existence and character divergence across carnivores. Ecology Letters. Vol: 10. Pages 146-152.
Presentations Davies, T. Jonathan. 2007. The phylogenetic and geographic distribution of extinction risk in the flowering plants of the cape. Society for Conservation Biology, Annual Meeting. Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Journal Article Davies, T. Jonathan; Fritz, Susanne A.; Grenyer, Richard; Orme, David L.; Bielby, Jon; Bininda-Emonds, Olaf R. P.; Cardillo, Marcel; Jones, Kate E.; Gittleman, John L.; Mace, Georgina; Purvis, Andy. 2008. Phylogenetic trees and the future of mammalian biodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol: 105. Pages 111556-11563.
Journal Article Davies, T. Jonathan; Pedersen, Amy B. 2008. Phylogeny and geography predict pathogen community similarity in wild primates and humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. Vol: 275. Pages 1695-1701. (Online version)
Journal Article Davies, T. Jonathan; Purvis, Andy; Gittleman, John L. 2009. Quaternary climate change and the geographic ranges of mammals . American Naturalist. Vol: 174(3). Pages 297-307. (Online version)
Journal Article Dunn, Robert; Davies, T. Jonathan; Harris, Nyeema C.; Gavin, Michael C. 2010. Global drivers of human pathogen richness and prevalence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. Vol: 277. Pages 2587-2595. (Online version)
Journal Article Goldblatt, Peter; Rodriguez, Aaron; Powell, M.P.; Davies, T. Jonathan; Manning, John C.; van der Bank, M.; Savolainen, Vincent. 2008. Iridaceae 'out of Australasia'? Phylogeny, biogeography, and divergence time based on plastid dna sequences. Systematic Botany. Vol: 33(3). Pages 495-508.
Journal Article Grenyer, Richard; Orme, David L.; Davies, T. Jonathan; Jackson, Sarah F.; Davies, Richard G.; Olson, Valerie A.; Jones, Kate E.; Gaston, Kevin J.; Blackburn, Tim M.; Thomas, Gavin H.; Bennett, Peter M.; Rasmussen, Pam; Ding, Tzung-Su; Gittleman, John L.; Owens, Ian P.F. 2007. Effective global conservation strategies. Reply. Brief Communications Arising. Vol: 450. Pages E20.
Journal Article Jansson, Roland; Davies, T. Jonathan. 2008. Global variation in diversification rates of flowering plants: Energy vs. climate change. Ecology Letters. Vol: 11. Pages 173-183.
Journal Article Pedersen, Amy B.; Davies, T. Jonathan. 2010. Cross-species pathogen transmission and disease emergence in primates. Ecohealth. Vol: 6. Pages 496-508. (Online version)