, Volume 179, Issue 3, pp 853–861

Negative density-dependent mortality varies over time in a wet tropical forest, advantaging rare species, common species, or no species

  • Bénédicte Bachelot
  • Richard K. Kobe
  • Corine Vriesendorp
Community ecology - Original research


Although one of the most widely studied hypotheses for high tree diversity in the tropics, the Janzen–Connell hypothesis (JC), and the community compensatory trend upon which it is based, have conflicting support from prior studies. Some of this variation could arise from temporal variation in seedling survival of common and rare species. Using 10 years of data from La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, we analyzed annual seedling survival and found that negative density-dependence (negative DD) was significantly stronger for rare species than for common species in 2 years and was significantly stronger for common species than for rare species in 4 years. This temporal variation in survival was correlated with climatic variables: in warmer and wetter years, common species had higher negative DD than rare species. The relationship between climate and variation in JC effects on seedling survival of common and rare species could have important consequences for the maintenance of tree species diversity in Central America, which is predicted to experience warmer and wetter years as global change proceeds.


Janzen–Connell hypothesis Negative density-dependence Community compensatory trend Global change Tropical lowland rainforest 

Supplementary material

442_2015_3402_MOESM1_ESM.docx (59 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 58 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bénédicte Bachelot
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard K. Kobe
    • 3
  • Corine Vriesendorp
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate Program in EEBB, Department of ForestryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental BiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Graduate Program in EEBB, Departments of Forestry and Plant BiologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Environment, Culture and Conservation Field Museum of Natural HistoryChicagoUSA

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