Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 455–459

Variance deficit is not reliable evidence for niche limitation

  • Jan Lepš

DOI: 10.1007/BF02803975

Cite this article as:
Lepš, J. Folia Geobot (1995) 30: 455. doi:10.1007/BF02803975


Variance deficit in the number of species per sampling unit, as compared to a null model with species occurring independently of each other has been considered by various authors to be evidence for niche limitation. I show that simpler mechanisms could explain this phenomenon. Of those, the competition of individuals for space limits the number of individuals per sampling unit, resulting in decrease of variance in species richness. Testing the proportions of species belonging to various guilds seems to be more ecologically interesting, although here also the variance deficit can hardly be taken as reliable evidence for niche limitation.


Community structure Competition Guild structure Species richness 

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Lepš
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Biological SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Biomathematics, Institute of EntomologyCzech Academy of SciencesČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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