Species composition and abundance of mammalian communities

TitleSpecies composition and abundance of mammalian communities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsThibault KM, Supp SR, Giffin M, White EP, Ernest SKM
Refereed DesignationRefereed
Type of ArticleData Paper
Keywordsabundance, community, community assembly, community structure, composition, mammals.
AbstractEcologists have long sought to understand the mechanisms underlying the assembly and structure of communities. Such understanding is relevant to both basic science and conservation-related issues. The macroecological approach to this problem involves asking scientific questions using a large number of communities in order to elucidate generalities in pattern and process. Such analyses are typically conducted using a substantial amount of data from a particular taxonomic group across a diversity of systems. Large community databases are available for a number of taxa, but no publicly available database exists for mammals. Given the logistical challenges of collecting such data de novo, compiling existing information from the literature provides the best avenue for acquiring the necessary data. Here, we provide a data set that includes species lists for 1000 mammal communities, excluding bats, with species-level abundances available for 940 of these communities. All communities found in the literature that included complete, site-specific sampling data, composed of species lists with or without associated abundances, were included in the data set. Most, but not all, sites are limited to species groups that are sampled using a single technique (e.g., small mammals sampled with Sherman traps). The data set consists of 7977 records from 1000 georeferenced sites encompassing a variety of habitats throughout the world, and it includes data on 660 mammal species with sizes ranging from 2 g to >500 kg.