MRE Symonds, CN Johnson (2006) Determinants of local abundance in a major radiation of Australian passerines (Aves: Meliphagoidea). Journal of Biogeography 33: 794-802.

What’s it about?

Using data from the Australian Bird Count, we looked at whether aspects of ecology and life-history (latitude, body mass, diet breadth, habitat breadth, clutch size) served as reliable predictors across species of local abundance (population density). The answer was that body mass and latitude were the strongest predictors, although with some evidence of habitat breadth having an effect. Intriguingly we found that species at higher latitudes (further away from the equator) existed at higher abundance. In other words, species tend to be ‘rarer’ in the tropics. This became an impetus for a subsequent paper.

What’s the story about it?

Have a read of Symonds and Johnson (2006a).


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