"Intraspecific aggregation decreases local species diversity of arthropods"
Veech, Joseph A.
Crist, Thomas O.
Summerville, Keith S.
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Abstract. The aggregation model of species coexistence predicts that insect species diversity within a community is maintained by intraspecific aggregation among resource patches. An untested corollary of this prediction is that diversity within resource patches should decrease with increasing intraspecific aggregation. The recently derived species–aggregation relationship provides a general formulation of this prediction: as intraspecific aggregation increases within a geographic area, the species richness within samples of the area decreases. We tested this prediction by compiling and analyzing 76 data sets of arthropod species distribution and abundance. For each data set, we determined the mean amount of intra- and interspecific aggregation and three types of within-sample or local species diversity: species richness, evenness, and dominance. Using regression, we found a negative relationship between intraspecific aggregation and all three types of local diversity. Intraspecific aggregation explained a significant percentage of the variation in species diversity, typically between 20% and 60%. By comparison, interspecific aggregation usually explained <1% of the variation in species diversity. Our study provides empirical support for the species–aggregation relationship as a general macroecological pattern that emerges from intraspecific aggregation.