Community Ecology Lab Report

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Purpose- The main purpose of this article is to use computer-based niche modeling to find evidence of niche divergence, or if niche conservatism plays a role in speciation and the upkeep of species diversity. Another purpose of this experiment is to see if genetic distances affect niche overlap. Unit Topic- This article best relates to Chapter 53, Community Ecology. This article consists of niche experimentation. While in class we only discussed niches to an extent, this article goes deeper into niche divergence and niche conservatism. Summary- The Woodland Salamander genus Plethondon Tschudi, which contains terrestrial lungless salamanders, is supposedly a perfect example of an ancestry marked by niche conservatism. Using computer-based niche modeling to study these salamanders, it is…show more content…
In order to determine niche comparisons within a more precise context, they first compared genetic distance between species and niche divergence. Then testing for niche divergence within a determined phylogeny of the study of species, the program SEEVA was used. SEEVA, using Spatial Evolutionary and Ecological Vicariance Analysis methods, processes data gathered from species or individuals. As seen from their data, there were indifferently more comparisons based on the role of niche divergence than by niche conservatism. These results do not agree with previous reports by other experimentalists. Also, they have concluded from their results that niche overlap decreases with increasing genetic distance. This information also disagrees with previous reports. These differences in results may have been the result from the lack of consideration for ancestral niches in the species

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