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Oecologia

, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 104–113 | Cite as

Analysis of avian communities in Lake Guri, Venezuela, using multiple assembly rule models

  • Kenneth Feeley
Communitity Ecology

Abstract

This study analyzed the distribution of resident, forest-interior bird species nesting on islands in Lake Guri, Venezuela using several different community assembly rule models. The models that were tested included Diamond's Assembly Rules, Size Structure, Guild Proportionality, Favored States, and Nestedness. It was determined that the species composition of the study communities was only weakly influenced by competition, but that competition did appear to limit the size similarity which is permissible for co-occurring species. There was no tendency for the relative proportion of species within guilds (i.e. insectivore, omnivore, nectivore and frugivore) to remain stable among the islands. When only the insectivorous and omnivorous species were analyzed (using feeding strata as the functional groups) there was some support for the guild proportionality hypothesis. This study found no support for Fox's Favored State hypothesis, possibly due to the overrepresentation of insectivores and omnivores in the species pool. The island communities exhibit a highly nested structure. This high degree of nestedness supports the hypothesis that the assemblages are more strongly determined by differential extinction vulnerability and selective species loss than by interspecific or inter-guild competition. Understanding patterns of community assembly and their underlying forces has important implications for conservation ecology and reserve design.

Keywords

Competition Nestedness Community composition Guild structure 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Lawrence Lopez, Dan Lebbins, Diana Escalasans, Lisa Davenport, John Terborgh and Primo Rondon for their help collecting the field data. I would also like to thank Luis Balbas for logistical support and Tom Gillespie for collecting the natural history information. Daniel Simberloff and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the Frank M. Chapman Research Grant and the H. Branch Howe, Jr., Graduate Student Research Grant.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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