On Large-Scale Dynamics and Community Structure in Forest Birds: Lessons from Some Eucalypt Forests of Southeastern Australia
Models of ecological communities, including coevolved patterns of resource use among sympatric species (for example, `resource partitioning'), are poor or inadequate representations of natural systems despite intense theoretical effort for many years. Some of these difficulties are due to a failure to recognize the necessary conditions for community patterns to develop, which are largely controlled by the dynamic characteristics of individual species. In continental bird communities - examples of which are considered here - these necessary conditions often will not be met owing to the mobility of most species. Here I document the degrees to which the large-scale dynamics (over hundreds of km) of individual bird species are expressed in community terms in five forest-habitat types throughout the year. These data demonstrate that continental bird communities are so dynamic that the conditions for the development of definite structure are unlikely to be met in either proximate or evolutionary time. The failure of community theories to account for and predict structure probably reflects too much concentration on mechanisms at inappropriate spatial scales.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- December 1995