NCEAS Project 5580

Determinants of species diversity at varying spatial scales

  • Gary G. Mittelbach

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Sabbatical Fellow1st November 2002—30th June 2003Participant List  

Understanding the factors that determine species diversity at varying spatial scales is fundamental to the management and preservation of biodiversity. I would like to spend 9 months of my upcoming sabbatical (Sept. 2002-June 2003) at NCEAS working on three projects that examine the processes regulating species diversity at geographical scales ranging from local communities to cross-continental patterns. The first of these projects examines one of the fundamental mechanisms thought to regulate species diversity within a local community - the extent of spatial heterogeneity in resource availability and the richness of the regional species pool. To examine these mechanisms, I will analyze three years of field data from an experimental manipulation of soil nutrient heterogeneity and regional species pools on the diversity of plant species in a prairie savanna community. Results from this study will be synthesized relative to other studies that have manipulated soil nutrients, plant productivities, and species pools. In the second project, I will be examining the importance of climate and available energy in determining patterns of species richness across very broad spatial scales (e.g., continents). This work will be conducted as part of an ongoing NCEAS working group in "Energy and geographic variation in species richness". The above projects focus on ecological mechanisms thought to regulate biodiversity at varying spatial scales. Differences in species richness between geographical regions or biomes (e.g., tropics versus temperate zone), however, are ultimately determined by differential rates of evolutionary diversification (speciation minus extinction). Therefore, the third project I want to undertake while on sabbatical is to examine how differences in species diversity between the tropics and temperate regions (i.e., the latitudinal gradient) may be generated by differential rates of evolutionary diversification. In addition to these three research projects, I plan to participate in the NCEAS-based Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity (KNB) graduate seminar series on scale-dependent patterns in biodiversity.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Currie, David J.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Cornell, Howard V.; Field, Richard; Guegan, Jean-Francois; Hawkins, Bradford A.; Kaufman, Dawn; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O'Brien, Eileen M.; Turner, John R.G. 2004. Predictions and tests of climate-based hypotheses of broad-scale variation in taxonomic richness. Ecology Letters. Vol: 7. Pages 1121-1134.
Journal Article Dorn, N. J.; Mittelbach, Gary G. 2004. Effects of a native crayfish (Orconectes virilis) on the reproductive success and nesting behavior of freshwater sunfish (Lepomis spp.). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Vol: 61. Pages 2135-2143.
Journal Article Field, Richard; Hawkins, Bradford A.; Cornell, Howard V.; Currie, David J.; Diniz-Filho, Alexandre F.; Guegan, Jean-Francois; Kaufman, Dawn; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O'Brien, Eileen M.; Turner, John R.G. 2009. Spatial species-richness gradients across scales: A meta-analysis. Journal of Biogeography. Vol: 36. Pages 132-147.
Journal Article Gross, Katherine L.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Reynolds, Heather L. 2005. Grassland invasibility and diversity: Responses to nutrients, seed input, and disturbance. Ecology. Vol: 86(2). Pages 476-486.
Journal Article Hawkins, Bradford A.; Field, Richard; Cornell, Howard V.; Currie, David J.; Guegan, Jean-Francois; Kaufman, Dawn; Kerr, Jeremy T.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Oberdorff, Thierry; O'Brien, Eileen M.; Porter, Eric; Turner, John R.G. 2003. Energy, water, and broad-scale geographic patterns of species richness. Ecology. Vol: 84(12). Pages 3105-3117.
Presentations Mittelbach, Gary G. 2003. Species diversity and resource heterogeneity. Seminar. Department of Biology, University of Ottawa. Ottawa, Canada.
Presentations Mittelbach, Gary G. 2003. Species, energy, and Preston's lognormal: Speculation on how climate and coevolution drive the latitudinal diversity gradient. EcoLunch. National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Santa Barbara, CA.
Journal Article Mittelbach, Gary G.; Scheiner, Samuel M.; Steiner, Christopher F. 2003. What is the observed relationship between species richness and productivity? Reply. Ecology. Vol: 84(12). Pages 3390-3395.
Presentations Mittelbach, Gary G.; Currie, David J.; Cornell, Howard V. 2004. Exploring functional mechanisms driving broad-scale diversity gradients. ESA symposium, Annual meeting Ecological Society of America. Portland, OR.
Journal Article Petchey, Owen; Downing, A. L.; Mittelbach, Gary G.; Persson, Lennart; Steiner, Christopher F.; Warren, P. H.; Woodward, Guy. 2004. Species loss and the structure and functioning of multitrophic aquatic ecosystems. Oikos. Vol: 104(3). Pages 467-478. (Abstract)
Journal Article Wilson, Will G.; Lundberg, Per; Vazquez, Diego P.; Shurin, Jonathan B.; Smith, Melinda D.; Langford, William T.; Gross, Katherine L.; Mittelbach, Gary G. 2003. Biodiversity and species interactions: Extending Lotka-Volterra community theory. Ecology Letters. Vol: 6. Pages 944-952.