, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 65–76 | Cite as

Structure, pattern, and diversity of a mallee community in New South Wales

  • R. H. Whittaker
  • W. A. Niering
  • M. D. Crisp


An intensive sample of Australian mallee included a strip of 100 1 sq. m plots and counts of species numbers in expanding areas (1, 10, 100, and 1000 sq. m) to a full hectare. Reciprocal averaging (RA) produced an effective arrangement of the sq. m plots and their species along an axis of internal pattern from mallee patches to the openings between them. RA scores permitted definition of the patches and transitions and comparisons of relative difference between successive sq. m plots (mean RA score differences of 6.9 in the openings, 11.9 in mallee patches, and 14.7 in transitions). Pattern diversity, measured as degree of species turnover along the first RA axis, was 2.3 half-changes. Groups of species most characteristic of openings, transitions, and mallee patches could be recognized; but many species are of wide amplitude along the pattern axis, and neither RA nor association measurements showed distinct species groups separate from one another. The mallee sample is rich in species (mean of 53/0.1 ha, total of 101/ha) compared with North American samples; it is roughly similar to North American woodlands and shrublands in life-form spectrum but different in growth-form representation. Mean heights of species formed an apparent lognormal distribution with the concentration of species in the 0.2–0.4 m oetave. Species numbers in relation to areas (A, in sq. m), traced from 1 sq. mm to 105 sq. m, were reasonably fitted by either S=5.33 + 15.28 log A or S=8.22A0.29 at intermediate quadrat sizes (1–1000 sq. m) but not at smaller sizes. The ten replicate 0.1 ha samples gave coefficients of variation of 7% for species numbers and 9–10% for the regression coefficients (except b=5.33 with a CV of 43%).


Australia Diversity Eucalyptus Life-form spectra Mallee Ordination Pattern analysis Plant height distribution Reciprocal averaging Species-area curves 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. BeadleN.C.W. 1948. The Vegetation and Pastures of Western New South Wales, with Special Reference to Soil Erosion. Tennant, Govt. Printer, Sidney. 281 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Burrows, W.H. 1976. Aspects of nutrient cycling in semi arid mallee and mulga communities. Ph.D. Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  3. CodyM.L., 1975. Towards a theory of continental species diversities: bird distributions over Mediterranean habitat gradients. In: M.L.Cody & J.M.Diamond (eds.), Ecology and Evolution of Communities, pp. 214–257. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  4. ColeL.C. 1949. The Measurement of interspecific association. Ecology 30: 411–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DoingH. 1970. Botanical geography and chorology in Australia. Misc. Papers Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 6: 81–98.Google Scholar
  6. DoingH. 1971. Vegetation formations in Australia. Acta Bot. Neerl. 20: 258–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. GauchH.G.Jr., R.H.Whittaker & T.R.Wentworth. 1977. A comparative study of reciprocal averaging and other ordination techniques. J. Ecol. 65: 157–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. GillA.M. 1975. Fire and the Australian flora: a review. Austral. forestry 38: 4–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Glenn-LewinD.C. 1977. Species diversity in North American temperate forests. Vegetatio 33: 153–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. GoodallD.W. 1954. Objective methods for the elassification of vegetation. III. An essay in the use of factor analysis. Austral. J. Bot. 2: 304–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. GoodallD.W. 1973. Sample similarity and species correlation. In: R.H.Whittaker (ed.), Ordination and Classification of Communities. Handb. Veget. Sci. 5: 105–156. Junk, The Hague.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Greig-SmithP. 1964. Quantitative Plant Ecology. Butterworths, London. 256 pp. 2nd ed.Google Scholar
  13. HarnerR.F. & K.T.Harper. 1976. The role of area, heterogencity, and favorability in plant species diversity of pinyonjuniper ecosystems. Ecology 57: 1254–1263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. HillM.O. 1973a. The intensity of spatial pattern in plant communities, J. Ecol. 61: 225–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. HillM.O. 1973b. Reciprocal averaging: an eigenvector method of ordination. J. Ecol. 61: 237–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. HillM.O. 1974. Correspondence analysis: a neglected multivariate method. J. Roy. Stat. Soc., Ser. C, 23: 340–354.Google Scholar
  17. JonesE.W. 1955–6. Ecological studies on the rain forest of southern Nigeria. IV. The plateau forest of the Okomu Forest Reserve. J. Ecol. 43: 564–594, 44: 83–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. KershawK.A. 1957. The use of cover and frequency in the detection of pattern in plant communities. Ecology 38: 291–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Krishna IyerP.V. 1948. The theory of probability distribution of points on a line. J. Indian Soc. Agric. Statist. 1: 173–195.Google Scholar
  20. MaarelE.van der & J.Leertouwer. 1967. Variation in vegetation and species diversity along a local environmental gradient. Acta Bot. Neerl. 16: 211–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. MacArthurR.H. & E.O.Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton Univ. Press, Princeton, N.J. 203 pp.Google Scholar
  22. MarksP.L. & P.A.Harcombe. 1975. Community diversity of coastal plain forests in southern east Texas. Ecology 56: 1004–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. MayR.M. 1975. Patterns of species abundance and diversity. In: M.L.Cody & J.M.Diamond (eds.), Ecology and Evolution of Communities. pp. 81–120. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  24. MoralR.del. 1972. Diversity patterns in forest vegetation of the Wenatchee Mountains, Washington. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 99: 57–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Noy-MeirI. 1971. Multivariate analysis of the semi-arid vegetation in southeastern Australia: nodal ordination by component analysis. Proc. Ecol. Soc. Austral. 6: 159–193.Google Scholar
  26. Noy-MeirI. 1974. Multivariate analysis of the semiarid vegetation in south-eastern Australia. II. Vegetation catenae and environmental gradients. Aust. J. Bot. 22: 115–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. PeetR.K. 1978. Forest vegetation of the Colorado Front Range: patterns of species diversity. Vegetatio 37: 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. PielouE.C. 1966. Species-diversity and pattern-diversity in the study of ecological succession. J. Theoret. Biol. 10: 370–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. PielouE.C. 1974. Population and Community Ecology: Principles and Methods. Gordon & Breach, New York. 424 pp.Google Scholar
  30. SchimperA.F.W. 1903. Plant-Geography upon a Physiological Basis. Clarendon, Oxford. 839 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. SchmithüsenJ. 1968. Allgemeine Vegetationsgeographie. 3rd ed. de Gruyter, Berlin. 463 pp.Google Scholar
  32. SpechtR.L. 1966. The growth and distribution of malleebroombush (Eucalyptus incrassata-Melaleuca uncinata association) and heath vegetation near Dark Island Soak, Ninety-Mile Plain, South Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 14: 361–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. WalterH. 1968. Die Vegetation der Erde in öko-physiologischer Betrachtung. Vol. II: Die gemässigten und arktischen Zonen. Fischer, Jena. 1001 pp.Google Scholar
  34. WhittakerR.H. 1960. Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California. Ecol. Monogr. 30: 279–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. WhittakerR.H. 1965. Dominance and diversity in land plant communities. Science 147: 250–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. WhittakerR.H. 1972. Evolution and measurement of species diversity. Taxon 21: 213–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. WhittakerR.H. 1977. Evolution of species diversity in land communities. Evol. Biol. 10: 1–67.Google Scholar
  38. WhittakerR.H. & C.W.Fairbanks. 1958. A study of plankton copepod communities in the Columbia Basin, southeastern Washington. Ecology 39: 46–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. WhittakerR.H. & W.A.Niering. 1964. Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. I. Ecological classification and distribution of species. J. Ariz. Acad. Sci. 3: 9–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. WhittakerR.H. & W.A.Niering. 1965. Vegetation of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona. (II) A gradient analysis of the south slope. Ecology 46: 429–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. WoodJ.G. 1929. Foristics and ecology of the mallee. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 53: 359–378.Google Scholar
  42. WoodJ.g. 1937. The Vegetation of South Australia. Adelaide, Trigg, Govt: Printer. 164 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v. - Publishers 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. H. Whittaker
    • 1
  • W. A. Niering
    • 2
  • M. D. Crisp
    • 3
  1. 1.Ecology and SystematicsCornell UniversityIthaca
  2. 2.Department of BotanyConnecticut CollegeNew London
  3. 3.HerbariumCanberra Botanic GardensCanberra City

Personalised recommendations