Environmental Controls on Space-Time Biodiversity Patterns in the Amazon

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:30 PM
Amilcare M Porporato1, Sara Bonetti2 and Xue Feng2, (1)Duke Univ, Durham, NC, United States, (2)Duke University, Durham, NC, United States
The Amazon/Andes territory is characterized by the highest biodiversity on Earth and understanding how all these ecological niches and different species originated and developed is an open challenge. The niche perspective assumes that species have evolved and occupy deterministically different roles within its environment. This view differs from that of the neutral theories, which assume ecological equivalence between all species but incorporates stochastic demographic processes along with long-term migration and speciation rates. Both approaches have demonstrated tremendous power in predicting aspects species biodiversity. By combining tools from both approaches, we use modified birth and death processes to simulate plant species diversification in the Amazon/Andes and their space-time ecohydrological controls. By defining parameters related to births and deaths as functions of available resources, we incorporate the role of space-time resource variability on niche formation and community composition. We also explicitly include the role of a heterogeneous landscape and topography. The results are discussed in relation to transect datasets from neotropical forests.