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Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments

(2016) PLOS ONE. 11(11).
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Abstract
Rapid fragmentation and degradation of large undisturbed habitats constitute major threats to biodiversity. Several studies have shown that populations in small and highly isolated habitat patches are prone to strong environmental and demographic stochasticity and increased risk of extinction. Based on community assembly theory, we predict recent rapid forest fragmentation to cause a decline in species and functional guild richness of forest birds combined with a high species turnover among habitat patches, and well defined dominance structures, if competition is the major driver of community assembly. To test these predictions, we analysed species co-occurrence, nestedness, and competitive strength to infer effects of interspecific competition, habitat structure, and species' traits on the assembly of bird species communities from 12 cloud forest fragments in southern Kenya. Our results do not point to a single ecological driver of variation in species composition. Interspecific competition does not appear to be a major driver of species segregation in small forest patches, while its relative importance appears to be higher in larger ones, which may be indicative for a generic shift from competition-dominated to colonisation-driven community structure with decreasing fragment size. Functional trait diversity was independent of fragment size after controlling for species richness. As fragmentation effects vary among feeding guilds and habitat generalists, in particular, tend to decline in low quality forest patches, we plead for taking species ecology fully into account when predicting tropical community responses to habitat change.
Keywords
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION, ECOSYSTEM FUNCTION, PLANT-COMMUNITIES, TROPICAL, FORESTS, EXTINCTION DEBT, RAIN-FOREST, HOME-RANGE, LANDSCAPE, BIODIVERSITY, MOVEMENTS

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Ulrich, Werner, Luc Lens, Joseph A Tobias, and Jan C Habel. 2016. “Contrasting Patterns of Species Richness and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities of East African Cloud Forest Fragments.” Plos One 11 (11).
APA
Ulrich, W., Lens, L., Tobias, J. A., & Habel, J. C. (2016). Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments. PLOS ONE, 11(11).
Vancouver
1.
Ulrich W, Lens L, Tobias JA, Habel JC. Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments. PLOS ONE. 2016;11(11).
MLA
Ulrich, Werner, Luc Lens, Joseph A Tobias, et al. “Contrasting Patterns of Species Richness and Functional Diversity in Bird Communities of East African Cloud Forest Fragments.” PLOS ONE 11.11 (2016): n. pag. Print.
@article{8517920,
  abstract     = {Rapid fragmentation and degradation of large undisturbed habitats constitute major threats to biodiversity. Several studies have shown that populations in small and highly isolated habitat patches are prone to strong environmental and demographic stochasticity and increased risk of extinction. Based on community assembly theory, we predict recent rapid forest fragmentation to cause a decline in species and functional guild richness of forest birds combined with a high species turnover among habitat patches, and well defined dominance structures, if competition is the major driver of community assembly. To test these predictions, we analysed species co-occurrence, nestedness, and competitive strength to infer effects of interspecific competition, habitat structure, and species' traits on the assembly of bird species communities from 12 cloud forest fragments in southern Kenya. Our results do not point to a single ecological driver of variation in species composition. Interspecific competition does not appear to be a major driver of species segregation in small forest patches, while its relative importance appears to be higher in larger ones, which may be indicative for a generic shift from competition-dominated to colonisation-driven community structure with decreasing fragment size. Functional trait diversity was independent of fragment size after controlling for species richness. As fragmentation effects vary among feeding guilds and habitat generalists, in particular, tend to decline in low quality forest patches, we plead for taking species ecology fully into account when predicting tropical community responses to habitat change.},
  articleno    = {e0163338},
  author       = {Ulrich, Werner and Lens, Luc and Tobias, Joseph A and Habel, Jan C},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  journal      = {PLOS ONE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {16},
  title        = {Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163338},
  volume       = {11},
  year         = {2016},
}

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