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Self-consistent approach for neutral community models with speciation

Bart Haegeman 1 Rampal Etienne 2 
1 MERE - Water Resource Modeling
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique : UMR0729
Abstract : Hubbell's neutral model provides a rich theoretical framework to study ecological communities. By incorporating both ecological and evolutionary time scales, it allows us to investigate how communities are shaped by speciation processes. The speciation model in the basic neutral model is particularly simple, describing speciation as a point-mutation event in a birth of a single individual. The stationary species abundance distribution of the basic model, which can be solved exactly, fits empirical data of distributions of species' abundances surprisingly well. More realistic speciation models have been proposed such as the random-fission model in which new species appear by splitting up existing species. However, no analytical solution is available for these models, impeding quantitative comparison with data. Here, we present a self-consistent approximation method for neutral community models with various speciation modes, including random fission. We derive explicit formulas for the stationary species abundance distribution, which agree very well with simulations. We expect that our approximation method will be useful to study other speciation processes in neutral community models as well.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 12:04:43 PM
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Bart Haegeman, Rampal Etienne. Self-consistent approach for neutral community models with speciation. Physical Review E : Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, American Physical Society, 2010, E81 (3), 13 p. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.81.031911⟩. ⟨hal-00649192⟩

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