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Abstract



Citation. Tilman, D.; Lehman, C. L.; Bristow, C. E. 1998. Diversity-stability relationships: statistical inevitability or ecological consequence? The American Naturalist 151:277-282.   [1693  E001  LTER]

Introduction. Elton's (1985) hypothesis that ecological stability should depend on biological diversity has stimulated many conceptual and empirical debates and advances (e.g., May 1973; Goodman 1975, McNaughton 1977, 1985, 1993; Pimm 1979, 1985; Frank and McNaughton 1991; Lawton and Brown 1993; Givnish 1994; Tilman and Downing 1994; Tilman 1996). A major, recent advance is provided by Doak et al. (1998), who use the mathematics of stochastic processes to explain some potential effects of diversity on stability. Their analogy between the effects of species diversity on ecological stability and the effects of the diversity of a portfolio of investments on the stability of its valuation is powerful. Indeed, there is a rigorous mathematical basis for this portfolio effect (e.g., Lee 1985; Brigham and Gapenski 1988; see also other textbook treatments of the capital asset pricing model [CAPM]).

Keywords. stability, diversity, community ecology, stochasticity, mean and variance, competition


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