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Patterns In NatureThe Analysis of Species Co-Occurrences$
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James G. Sanderson and Stuart L. Pimm

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226292724

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226292861.001.0001

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Patterns or Fantasies?

Patterns or Fantasies?

(p.3) Chapter One Patterns or Fantasies?
Patterns In Nature

James G. Sanderson

Stuart L. Pimm

University of Chicago Press

This book is about the identification and interpretation of nature’s large-scale patterns of species co-occurrence and what we can deduce from them about how nature works. Surely, the earliest experiences we have as naturalists are putting names to the species we see. Other groups of species are difficult and the field guides help by providing maps adjacent to the illustrations, for many similar species live in different places. So, geographical range helps—and often helps a lot. We ask:do similar species avoid each other, perhaps because mutual competition makes it difficult for them to coexist in the same place? This may be a profoundly interesting pattern, but it also may be an illusion. How do we decide?

Keywords:   assembly rule, checkerboard, community, competition, food web, gradient, island, null model, pattern, random

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