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Data from: A new framework for investigating biotic homogenization and exploring future trajectories: oceanic island plant and bird assemblages as a case study

Citation

Rosenblad, Kyle C.; Sax, Dov F. (2016), Data from: A new framework for investigating biotic homogenization and exploring future trajectories: oceanic island plant and bird assemblages as a case study, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c9s61

Abstract

Studies of biotic homogenization have focused primarily on characterizing changes that have occurred between some past baseline and the present day. In order to understand how homogenization may change in the future, it is important to contextualize the processes driving these changes. Here, we examine empirical patterns of change in taxonomic similarity among oceanic island plant and bird assemblages. We use these empirical cases to unpack dynamic properties of biotic homogenization, thereby elucidating two important factors that have received little attention: 1) initial similarity and 2) the influence of six classes of introduction and extinction events. We use Jaccard's Index to explore the interplay among these factors in determining the changes in similarity that have occurred between human settlement and the present. Specifically, we develop general formulas for changes in similarity resulting from each of the six types of introductions and extinctions, so that the effect of each event type is formulated in terms of initial similarity and species richness. We then apply these insights to project how similarity levels would change in the future if the present patterns of introductions and extinctions continue. We show that the six event types, along with initial similarity, can show dramatically different behavior in different systems, leading to widely variable influences on similarity. Plant and bird biotas have homogenized only slightly to date, but their trajectories of change are highly divergent. Although existing patterns of colonization and extinction might not continue unchanged, if they were to do so then plant assemblages would show little additional change, whereas bird assemblages would become much more strongly homogenized. Our results suggest that moderate changes in similarity observed to date mask the potential for more dramatic changes in the future, and that the interaction among initial similarity and differential introduction and extinction regimes drives these dynamics.

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