Variance deficit is not reliable evidence for niche limitation
- Cite this article as:
- Lepš, J. Folia Geobot (1995) 30: 455. doi:10.1007/BF02803975
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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.