Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 275–288

Placing empirical limits on metapopulation models for terrestrial plants

  • SAMUEL M. Scheiner
  • JOSE´ M. Rey-Benayas

DOI: 10.1023/A:1018464319460

Cite this article as:
Scheiner, S.M. & Rey-Benayas, J.M. Evolutionary Ecology (1997) 11: 275. doi:10.1023/A:1018464319460


Both island-biogeographic (dynamic) and niche-based (static) metapopulation models make predictions about the distribution and abundance of species assemblages. We tested the utility of these models concerning such predictions for terrestrial vascular plants using data from 74 landscapes across the globe. We examined correlations between species frequency and local abundance and shapes of the species frequency distribution. No data set met all of the predictions of any single island-biogeographic metapopulation model. In contrast, all data sets met the predictions of the niche-based model. We conclude that in predicting the distribution of species assemblages of plants over scales greater than 10–1 km, niche-based models are robust while current metapopulation models are insufficient. We discuss limitations in the assumptions of the various models and the types of empirical observations that they will each have to deal with in further developments.

island biogeography niche-based models species distributions terrestrial plants 

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • SAMUEL M. Scheiner
    • 1
  • JOSE´ M. Rey-Benayas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Life Sciences (2352)Arizona State University WestPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Area de Ecologi´a, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de Alcala´Alcala´ de Henares, MadridSpain

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