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Islands, Equilibria, and Ricklefs and Bermingham (1) demonstrated

Summary: Islands, Equilibria, and
Ricklefs and Bermingham (1) demonstrated
that divergence times of Lesser Antillean avi-
fauna from sister taxa do not follow the expo-
nential distribution predicted with constant
colonization and extinction rates (2). Their ex-
planation for this observation was a lack of
equilibrium due to historical changes in coloni-
zation or extinction rates. However, they mis-
takenly estimated species numbers from the dis-
tribution of divergence time, and they neglected
the possibility that migration and speciation
could have generated the observed pattern.
Ricklefs and Bermingham have con-
founded the measured cumulative distribu-
tions with the time course of colonization
of empty islands. Only the latter has an
asymptote at the equilibrium number of
species. The asymptote of the fitted expo-


Source: Adler, Fred - Department of Mathematics, University of Utah
Bermingham, Eldredge - Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa Panama
Johnson, Kevin P. - Illinois Natural History Survey


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology