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Are Local Patterns of Anthropoid Primate Diversity Related to Patterns of Diversity at a Larger Scale?

M. J. Lawes and H. A. C. Eeley
Journal of Biogeography
Vol. 27, No. 6 (Nov., 2000), pp. 1421-1435
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656086
Page Count: 15
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Are Local Patterns of Anthropoid Primate Diversity Related to Patterns of Diversity at a Larger Scale?
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Abstract

Aims (1) To determine the relationship between local and regional anthropoid primate species richness. (2) To establish the spatial and temporal scale at which the ultimate processes influencing patterns of primate species coexistence operate. Location Continental landmasses of Africa, South America and Asia (India to China, and all islands as far south as New Guinea). Methods The local-regional species richness relationship for anthropoid primates is estimated by regressing local richness against regional richness (independent variable). Local richness is estimated in small, replicate local assemblages sampled in regions that vary in total species richness. A strong linear relationship is taken as evidence that local assemblages are unsaturated and local richness results from proportional sampling of the regional pool. An asymptotic curvilinear relationship is interpreted to reflect saturated communities, where strong biotic interactions limit local richness and local processes structure the species assemblage. As a further test of the assumption of local assemblage saturation, we looked for density compensation in high-density local primate assemblages. Results The local-regional species richness relationship was linear for Africa and South America, and the slope of the relationship did not differ between the two continents. For Asia, curvilinearity best described the relationship between local and regional richness. Asian primate assemblages appear to be saturated and this is confirmed by density compensation among Asian primates. However, density compensation was also observed among African primates. The apparent assemblage saturation in Asia is not a species-area phenomenon related to the small size of the isolated islands and their forest blocks, since similar low local species richness occurs in large forests on mainland and/or peninsular Asia. Main conclusions In Africa and South America local primate assemblage composition appears to reflect the influence of biogeographic processes operating on regional spatial scales and historical time scales. In Asia the composition of primate assemblages are by-and-large subject to ecological constraint operating over a relatively small spatial and temporal scale. The possible local influence of the El Niño Southern Oscillations on the evolution and selection of life-history characteristics among Asian primates, and in determining local patterns of primate species coexistence, warrants closer inspection.

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