Emergent neutrality leads to multimodal species abundance distributions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Recent analyses of data sampled in communities ranging from corals and fossil brachiopods to birds and phytoplankton suggest that their species abundance distributions have multiple modes, a pattern predicted by none of the existing theories. Here we show that the multimodal pattern is consistent with predictions from the theory of emergent neutrality. This adds to the observations, suggesting that natural communities may be shaped by the evolutionary emergence of groups of similar species that coexist in niches. Such self-organized similarity unifies niche and neutral theories of biodiversity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number663
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • body-size
  • community
  • biodiversity
  • coexistence
  • diversity
  • ecology
  • model
  • similarity
  • paradox
  • niche

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Emergent neutrality leads to multimodal species abundance distributions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this