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Data from: Energetic and Ecological Constraints on Population Density of Reef Fishes

Cite this dataset

Barneche, Diego R. et al. (2015). Data from: Energetic and Ecological Constraints on Population Density of Reef Fishes [Dataset]. Dryad.


Population ecology has classically focused on pairwise species interactions, hindering the description of general patterns and processes of population abundance at large spatial scales. Here we use the Metabolic Theory of Ecology as a framework to formulate and test a model that yields predictions linking population density to the physiological constraints of body size and temperature on individual metabolism, and the ecological constraints of trophic structure and species richness on energy partitioning among species. Our model was tested by applying Bayesian quantile regression to a comprehensive reef-fish community database, from which we extracted density data for 5609 populations spread across 49 sites around the world. Our results indicate that population density declines markedly with increases in community species richness and that, after accounting for richness, energetic constraints are manifested most strongly for the most abundant species, which generally are of small body size and occupy lower trophic groups. Overall, our findings suggest that, at the global scale, factors associated with community species richness are the major drivers of variation in population density. Given that populations of species-rich tropical systems exhibit markedly lower maximum densities, they may be particularly susceptible to stochastic extinction.

Usage notes


Lakeba, Fiji
Beautemps, Beaupré Atoll, New Caledonia
West Lagoon, New Caledonia
Marokau, French Polynesia
Salaz y Gómez, Chile
Parrachos de Maracajaú, Brazil
Ilha Grande, Brazil
Tepoto, French Polynesia
Fernando de Noronha Archiplago, Brazil
Laje de Santos, Brazil
Isla del Coco, Costa Rica
Haraiki, French Polynesia
Rapa Nui, Chile
Vava'u, Tonga
Oahu, United States
São Tomé, São Tomé and Príncipe
Tekokota, French Polynesia
Maui, United States
Kauehi, French Polynesia
East Lagoon, New Caledonia
Astrolab Reefs, New Caledonia
Baía de Todos os Santos, Brazil
Trindade & Martim Vaz Archipelago, Brazil
Lifou, New Caledonia
Risca do Meio, Brazil
Hiti, French Polynesia
Viti Levu, Fiji
Ducie Atoll, United Kingdom
Taiaro, French Polynesia
Santa Catarina, Brazil
Hawaii, United States
Abrolhos Archipelago, Brazil
Arraial do Cabo, Brazil
Nihiru, French Polynesia
Tongatapu, Tonga
Vanua Levu, Fiji
Ha'apai, Tonga
Rocas Atoll, Brazil
Pitcairn Island, United Kingdom
Southwest Lagoon, New Caledonia
Guarapari, Brazil
Santa Luzia, Cape Verde
Hikueru, French Polynesia
Lanai, United States
Henderson Island, United Kingdom
US Virgin Islands, United States
Cagarras Archipelago, Brazil
St. Paul's Rocks, Brazil
Oeno Atoll, United Kingdom