Broad-Scale Diversity Patterns
Understanding what determines gradients in species diversity is of fundamental interest to ecologists. Some ecologists emphasize niche-related processes while others emphasize historical contingencies or broad-scale environmental factors. Reconciling these views is one of the most challenging tasks facing contemporary ecology, and it is of no doubt that scale holds the key for obtaining a synthesis. We are currently evaluating, globally and across several taxa, how species diversity scales down from coarse-grained macroecological scales to fine-grained assemblages of interacting individuals. We hope this will help in understanding the relative role of stochasticity, local interactions and environmental conditions in determining species diversity patterns.