Canadian Forest Service Publications

Habitat availability causes the species abundance-distribution relationship. 1996. Venier, L.A.; Fahrig, L. OIKOS 76: 564 - 570.

Year: 1996

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28808

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of different amounts of available habitat on the relationship between the distribution and abundance of species using a spatially explicit, stochastic, individual-based simulation model. We define abundance as the mean abundance of a species in occupied breeding habitat sites and distribution as the proportion of breeding habitat sites that are occupied by that species. We hypothesized that on a patchy landscape, more available breeding habitat will result in both higher abundance and wider distribution because of an increased number of successful dispersers. Therefore, a positive relationship between distribution and abundance is expected for a group of species in a landscape if individual species have differences in habitat use and therefore different amounts of habitat are available to them on the same landscape. In the simulation experiment the amount of breeding habitat was varied to examine the effects on abundance and distribution. We found a positive correlation between (1) abundance and the number of breeding habitat cells on the simulation landscape (2) distribution and the number of breeding habitat cells on the landscape and, (3) abundance and distribution. These results suggest that differences in amount of available habitat could account for a positive relationship between abundance and distribution.