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. Kembel. 2009. The merging of community ecology and phylogenetic biology. Ecol. Lett. 12:693–715. Kembel S. W. The merging of community ecology and phylogenetic biology

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Community ecology

Mittelbach, G. M. 2012. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Publishers. Sunderland, Massachusetts USA. www.sinauer.com. 400 pages + 166 illustrations. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-87893-509-3. Price: US$72.95

Community Ecology
Author: T. Kalapos
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Community Ecology

An Interdisciplinary Journal Reporting Progress in Community and Population Studies

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The montane (shola) grasslands of Western Ghats, South India are a component of a landscape mosaic including the better-studied shola forests. The conservation of the grasslands depends upon understanding their ecology. This review compiles available information and aims to evaluate the conservation potential of these grasslands. Most studies on these grasslands are descriptive in nature. There is little information regarding habitat heterogeneity, landscape configuration, natural disturbance, grazing and productivity in maintaining the grasslands. Succession is poorly understood because of the short-term nature of most studies. Human activities have historically influenced these grasslands and will continue to do so in more intensive manner. Threats to these grasslands include habitat loss, fragmentation, fires, and invasive species.

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Calculating a sample unit × trait matrix provides a flexible first step in analyzing the relationships between species traits and explanatory variables. This matrix is obtained by multiplying a sample unit × species matrix by a species × trait matrix, but the content of the resulting matrix depends on whether and how traits are standardized and whether or not the multiplication is followed by a weighted averaging step. To maximize versatility of the SU × trait matrix, including comparability among traits, and usability with a wide range of distance measures, we recommend first standardizing traits by min-to-max, then calculating abundance-weighted trait averages in each sample unit.

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The behavioral basis for habitat selection has been intensively studied, but comparatively little attention has been paid to how the resultant species assemblages are formed or affected. Further, how habitat quality interacts with behavior during habitat selection needs greater exploration. We sought to identify some of the behavioral interactions influencing the development of bird assemblages in agricultural habitats, which we consider a structurally simple model system. We performed point counts in non-cultivated meadows, intensive agriculture, and non-intensive agriculture areas in the 2011 and 2012 breeding seasons in which we particularly focussed on Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna), Field Sparrow (Spizella pusilla), Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis), and Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetus gramineus). Using presence-absence matrices and EcoSim software on 2011 census data, we determined where competition was likely to occur, and which species were competing. In 2012, we experimentally tested these relationships by introducing artificial competitors onto sites. We implemented a before-after control-impact study by comparing presence-absence data from 2011 to 2012 and using multinomial logistic regression. We found grassland bird assemblages are structured by interspecific competition or attraction. The experimental introduction of Grasshopper Sparrows resulted in several presence/absence changes, which differed based on habitat quality, by conspecifics and four heterospecifics (especially Bobolinks). We speculate that the response to competitors is actually determined by the relative quality of each habitat type for each species.

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. Molecular Evolution. A Phylogenetic Approach. Dale, M. B. 2000. On plexus representations of dissimilarities. Community Ecology 1. On plexus

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Community Ecology
Authors: O. Wildi, E. Feldmeyer-Christe, S. Ghosh, and N.E. Zimmermann

monitoring forest dynamics and assembly rules. Community Ecology 5: 107-114. Coenostate descriptors and spatial dependence in vegetation - derived variables in monitoring forest dynamics and assembly rules

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Important predictors of the species richness of vascular plants and epiphytic lichens on Populus spp in the Canadian aspen parkland were determined. Plants and lichens were sampled on three scales within 100 treed patches within an area of less than 4 km2 (patch-scale and two within-patch scales). Small-scale species richness within patches was positively related to the number of species in the surrounding patch and a few measured environmental variables. This suggests that, at this scale, the species richness of these communities is limited by the availability of species in addition to local environmental conditions and species habitat preferences. For plant species richness, environmental variables that were related to light availability were most important, whereas for epiphytic lichens, variables that were related to moisture availability on trees were most important. This study adds to a growing body of literature showing that both small-scale and larger-scale processes affect species richness within communities.

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