Testing the stability of marine communities over multiple timescales of eustatic cyclicity
Platsky, Allison Lee-Ann
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This study tests the stability of marine communities, measured by Hubbell’s fundamental biodiversity number θ, over multiple timescales of sea-level change. Estimates of θ are calculated for newly collected and existing faunal censuses of third, fourth, and fifth-order sequences of the Late Ordovician Mohawkian and Cincinnatian Series. Results indicate that the value of θ remains relatively constant from one sequence to the next, for fourth and fifth-order sequences, suggesting that these communities are able to rapidly respond to changes in habitat area. Third-order M6, C2, and C3 sequences exhibit consistent values of θ, however values of θ for the M5, C4, and C5 sequences are elevated and may be related to increased turnover or metacommunity area. Additionally, values of θ for third-order sequences are substantially larger than those of fourth-order and fifth-order sequences, but this pattern may reflect differences in experience among those performing faunal censuses rather than ecological factors.