Diversity, Species Packing and Habitat Description

  • T. R. E. Southwood


A great deal of time and expertise has been expended on the compilation of faunal lists for particular habitats, but the consequent increase in our understanding of the structure and functioning of animal communities or the impact on them of natural or man-induced change has been meagre. In the last two decades a substantial body of quantitative theory on communities has been developed, especially by the ‘Hutchinson-MacArthur school’, that allows both the organization of data on communities and also poses a number of hypotheses that require confirmation, refinement or refutation by field data. It is axiomatic that the objectives and methods of analysis should be fully and carefully considered, before the field programme is undertaken. The methods of sampling are those outlined in Chapters 2 and 4 to 7, although the differential response of species to trapping is an indication for caution in respect of many of the methods in Chapter 7. The present chapter aims to describe the methods of handling and analysing data on animal communities (from guilds to continental faunas). Details of the theoretical studies and examples of field work are given in MacArthur and Wilson (1967), MacArthur (1972), May (1973, 1976a & b), Cody and Diamond (1975) and Pianka (1976a and b).


Resource Utilization Niche Breadth Resource State Geometric Series Resource Spectrum 
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© T. R. E. Southwood 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. E. Southwood
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordUK

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