Are there limits to diversity? Towards an equilibrium theory of biodiversity

Czech Science Foundation 16-26369S board no. P505

Many hypotheses try to explain spatial variation of biological diversity. While some assume that current diversity patterns reflect just evolutionary history of individual lineages, there si increasing evidence for climate-dependent diversity equilibria for different regions which are independent of the patterns of diversification and evolutionary age. We will formally develop a general dynamic equilibrium theory of diversity and test its components using available large-scale spatiotemporal data. Specifically, we will test if diversity patterns are driven by the factors responsible for extinction (assumingly driving diversity-dependent regulation of diversity), namely the number of individuals related to resource abundance (productivity) and current and past environmental stability. Then we will explore scales at which diversity equilibria appear, and the implications of equilibrium diversity dynamics for predicting diversity changes due to current human-induced global changes.

Principal investigator: David Storch
Researchers: Eliška Bohdalková, Pavel Duda, Robert Pacák, Irena Šímová, Anna Tószögyová