Generalism drives abundance: a computational causal discovery approach


A ubiquitous pattern in ecological systems is that more abundant species are also more generalist, yet there is no consensus whether generalism drives abundance (a selection process) or abundance drives generalism (a drift process). As it is difficult to conduct direct experiments to solve this chicken-and-egg dilemma, we take a computational causal discovery approach and we find strong evidence that generalism is the cause of abundance in pollinator-hummingbird communities and reef fishes datasets. Our results indicate that selection processes are more important than drift processes in structuring multispecies systems when the environment is variable.

Chuliang Song
Chuliang Song

I am a theoretical ecologist driven by the curiosity of how biodiversity is generated and maintained.

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