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Disturbance, Patch Formation, and Community Structure

Simon A. Levin and R. T. Paine
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 71, No. 7 (Jul., 1974), pp. 2744-2747
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/63642
Page Count: 4
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Disturbance, Patch Formation, and Community Structure
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Abstract

A model is developed to relate community structure to level of environmental disturbance in systems in which the effects of disturbance are localized in space and time. In general these disturbances create a pattern of spatio-temporal heterogeneity by renewing a limiting resource, thereby permitting utilization by species that are not dominant competitors. The proposed model predicts the frequency distribution of these renewed areas, with regard to size and age (colonization stage). The model thus allows one to relate overall system pattern to the local biology within these areas, to compare various areas with different levels of disturbance, and to predict the effects of new disturbance.

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