, Volume 138, Issue 3, pp 360-370
Date: 06 Dec 2003

Density-range size relationships in French riverine fishes

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Abstract

We examined the relation between the local density of species and the size of the geographic range for French riverine fishes. As for most other taxonomic groups, a positive interspecific relationship is found for this group. This relationship is robust to the confounding effects of phylogeny and is not a priori a product of other potential mechanistic artefacts. We formally tested two of the principal biological mechanisms already proposed (i.e. the niche breadth hypothesis and the resource availability hypothesis). We found no support for the niche breadth hypothesis. In contrast, we found consistent support for the closely related resource availability hypothesis. Species utilising resources (habitats) that are marginal tend to appear at low density and to have narrow distribution whereas species utilising widespread habitats tend to be more abundant and more widely distributed. Using data on body size and reproductive traits we explored the potential influence of these variables in explaining significant variation around the density-range size relationship. Only body size explains significant variation around the relationship, being negatively correlated with local density and positively correlated with range size.