Susanne Renner


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Behind the Paper Humboldt Anniversary

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Jan 25, 2022

Fabulous movie and findings!!!!!

May 04, 2021

Hubbell’s (2001) neutral theory made three assumptions:

(1)  Functional equivalence of all organisms of a guild

(2)  Speciation is random and assumed to be instantaneous (?parthenogenetic?)

(3)  Resources are continuously saturated and there is dispersal limitation (cf. Etienne et al., J. Theo. Biol. 2007). Indeed, Etienne et al. (J. Theo. Biol. 2007) saw the theory’s emphasis on dispersal limitation as a dominant factor in determining species abundances as one of the most important contributions of neutral theory.

 With the new insight by Wiegand et al. (this paper) that neutrality in tropical tree communities is an outcome of random tree gaps and animal dispersal – rather than an assumption as in Hubbell’s neutral theory --- what happens to the other two assumptions of neutral theory? Probably little since neutral theory has a previously shown a great capacity to absorb inconvenient facts as evident from the following quotes:

 “Although there have been many attempts to falsify Hubbell's theory, we argue that falsification should not lead to rejection, because there is more to the theory than neutrality alone.” (Alfonso, Etienne, McKane, Trends Ecol. Evol. 2006)

 “Finding data that are unexplained by neutrality is a valuable application of neutral theory, not a triumph over it.” (Rosindell et al., Trends Ecol. Evol., April 2012)

 “Every ecologist knows that the real world is not neutral and that the assumptions made by neutral models are false” (Etienne & Rosindell, Science, June 2012)

 :-) Susanne Renner, 4 May 2021

Apr 27, 2021

Great study - finally we can understand (at least in this case) how polyploidy and the ability to self can evolved at the exact same moment.

Feb 16, 2021

Carruthers - such an interesting figure!

Feb 02, 2021

Stephen Smith, Jeremy Beaulieu and Michael Donoghue (PNAS March 2010) pointed out that the major lineages of holometabolic insects all date to the late Permian (ca 254 Ma ago), close to the time of early angios inferred from molecular clocks. This temporal match always made a strong argument...