Filed Under #macroecology

Where does Hubbell's 'species generator' come from?

On page 289 onwards, Hubbell (2001) gives an algorithm for sequentially sampling individuals from the neutral metacommunity and obtaining their species identities. The algorithm makes use of a quantity he calls the ‘species generator’ \[\frac{\theta}{\theta + j - 1}\] where \(\theta\) is the “fundamental biodiversity number” and \(j\) is the index of the individual drawn (1st, 2nd, …). In Figure 9.1 he gives a flow diagram for the algorithm, but it is perhaps easier to understand from reading code directly. From the hubbell package for R, Jari Oksanen authored this code: function(theta, J) { community <- NULL for (j in...

Transient dynamics in neutral models

Transient dynamics in neutral models In their 10-year-anniversary review of neutral theory (Hubbell, 2001), Rosindell et al. (2011) note that little work has been done on the model’s transient dynamics. Transient dynamics are nonetheless interesting because they can capture important processes occurring in recently disturbed landscapes. For example, if forest is cleared such that only a small patch remains, then the number of species in that patch will continue to decline over time (i.e. extinction debt). As another example (Hubbell, 2001, p. 140–142), the Pearl Archipelago in the Bay of Panama was once a continuous coastal plain attached to the mainland. As the water rose...