NCEAS Project 9300

Exploring the Swiss Cheese Effect: The causes and consequences of patchily occupied species ranges

  • Allen H. Hurlbert

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow1st September 2005—15th August 2008Participant List  

Abstract
Although the geographic range is a fundamental unit of analysis for many macroecological and biogeographical studies, as a representation of the spatial distribution of individuals it is clearly a scale-dependent abstraction. As any amateur naturalist realizes, a species is not guaranteed to be present at every point within the range delimited by a field guide. The degree to which a species is predictably encountered within its range varies tremendously across species. Using paired datasets on species ranges and survey data for birds, butterflies, and small mammals, I plan to quantify the variation in range occupancy across species, and identify the primary species level traits (e.g. body size, population density, habitat specialization) that explain this variation. The porous nature of species┬┐ ranges also has consequences for community level analyses. The overlaying of range maps leads to an overestimate of species richness for local communities, as well as to the perceived coexistence of species that may not actually coexist at a biologically meaningful spatial scale. I also propose to examine the degree to which local community composition as identified by surveys represents a non-random subset of the regional pool (as defined by range maps) using simulation analyses.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Data Set Hurlbert, Allen H. 2006. Geographic range occupancy of North American birds. (Abstract) (Online version)
Journal Article Hurlbert, Allen H.; White, Ethan. 2007. Ecological correlates of geographical range occupancy in North American birds. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol: 16. Pages 764-773.
Journal Article Hurlbert, Allen H.; Jetz, Walter. 2007. Species richness, hotspots, and the scale dependence of range maps in ecology and conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol: 104. Pages 13384-13389.
Journal Article Hurlbert, Allen H.; Iv, Ford B.; Powell, Scott. 2008. Shaking a leg and hot to trot: The effects of body size and temperature on running speed in ants. Ecological Entomology. Vol: 33. Pages 144-154.
Presentations Hurlbert, Allen H.; Jetz, Walter. 2009. The non-equivalence of area and energy in the scaling of species richness. Ecological Society of America, 2009. Albuquerque.
Journal Article Hurlbert, Allen H.; Jetz, Walter. 2010. More than "more individuals": The non-equivalence of area and energy in the scaling of species richness. American Naturalist. Vol: 176(2). Pages E50-E65.
Journal Article McClain, Craig R.; White, Ethan; Hurlbert, Allen H. 2007. Challenges in the application of geometric constraint models. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol: 16. Pages 257-264.
Presentations Thibault, Katherine M.; White, Ethan; Hurlbert, Allen H.; Ernest, S. K. Morgan. 2009. Multimodality of avian size distributions. Ecological Society of America, 2009. Albuquerque.
Journal Article White, Ethan; Hurlbert, Allen H. 2010. The combined influence of the local environment and regional enrichment on bird species richness. American Naturalist. Vol: 175. Pages E35-E43.