Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: statistical mechanics; resource partitioning; distribution of species; seasonally dry tropical forest; biotic resistance
Online: 3 April 2019 (10:36:47 CEST)
Data on the seasonally dry tropical forests of Mexico have been examined in the light of statistical mechanics. The results suggest a division into two classes of species. There are drifting populations of a cosmopolitan class capable of existing in most dry forest sites; these have a statistical distribution previously only observed (globally) for populations of alien species. A high proportion of species found only at a single site are endemic and these prefer sites comparatively low in species richness.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201711.0139.v1
Subject: Biology, Ecology Keywords: statistical mechanics; resource partitioning; stochastic processes; population dynamics
Online: 22 November 2017 (06:31:17 CET)
Many species of plants are found in regions to which they are alien. Their global distributions are characterised by a family of exponential functions of the kind that arise in elementary statistical mechanics (an example in ecology is MacArthur's broken stick). We show here that all these functions are quantitatively reproduced by a model containing a single parameter – some global resource partitioned at random on the two axes of species number and site number. A dynamical model generating this equilibrium is a two fold stochastic process and suggests a curious and interesting biological interpretation in terms of niche structures fluctuating with time and productivity; with sites and species highly idiosyncratic. Idiosyncrasy implies that attempts to identify a priori those species likely to become naturalized are unlikely to be successful. Although this paper is primarily concerned with a particular problem in population biology, the two fold stochastic process may be of more general interest.