Posted by: Jeremy Fox | January 27, 2012

Crowdsourcing papers on species’ traits as predictors of their abundances

Back in the blog’s early days I did what I still think is a quite nice little post on whether we should expect species’ phenotypic traits to predict or explain their abundances. I’m going to be fleshing that post out into a short perspectives-type review paper, mixing simple theory and some illustrative data. Given all the interest in “trait-based” community ecology these days (I’ve even heard it called a “new paradigm”*), this seems like a useful and timely paper to write.

Just for fun** I decided to crowdsource the data. So in the comments, please share your favorite examples of papers using species’ traits to predict their abundances. I’m specifically interested in community ecology papers, so really what I want is papers taking trait data for a bunch of species, and using those data to statistically predict or explain the abundances of those species either within a single site, or across sites (say, along an environmental gradient). I’m particularly interested in microbial examples, but non-microbial examples are great too. Note that the predictions or explanations need not be successful. I plan to cite papers reporting both successful and unsuccessful predictions and explanations, because the whole point of the ms is to argue that we only expect species’ traits to correlate with their abundances in certain circumstances. I of course have some papers in mind, but I’m genuinely curious to see what examples y’all suggest.

Afraid I can’t offer any reward here except my thanks. So, thanks in advance for your help!

*Crotchety old guy rant: Whenever I hear someone call some scientific idea or research approach a “new paradigm”, I immediately think of this line from one of my (and most people’s) favorite movies. This is followed by the wish that I had the power to do what Woody Allen does in Annie Hall (2:10 mark) and pull Thomas Kuhn out from behind a signboard. /crotchety old guy rant

**For “Just for fun” read “Because I am lazy”


  1. I would love to read that paper when it’s out.

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