Island biogeography is not a single-variable discipline: the small island effect debate

Authors

  • Kostas A. Triantis,

    Corresponding author
    1. Azorean Biodiversity Group, Departamento de Ciências Agrárias–CITAA, Universidade dos Açores, Pico da Urze, 9700-042, Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Açores, Portugal
    2. Biodiversity Research Group, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
    3. Department of Ecology and Taxonomy, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens GR-15784, Greece
      Kostas Triantis, Azorean Biodiversity Group, Departamento de Ciências Agrárias– CITAA, Universidade dos Açores, Pico da Urze, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Açores, Portugal.
      E-mails: konstantinos.triantis@ouce.ox.ac.uk; island.biogeography@gmail.com
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  • Spyros Sfenthourakis

    1. Section of Animal Biology, Department of Biology, University of Patras, GR-26504 Patra, Greece
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Kostas Triantis, Azorean Biodiversity Group, Departamento de Ciências Agrárias– CITAA, Universidade dos Açores, Pico da Urze, 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, Açores, Portugal.
E-mails: konstantinos.triantis@ouce.ox.ac.uk; island.biogeography@gmail.com

Abstract

In some island systems, an ‘anomalous’ feature of species richness on smaller islands, in comparison with larger ones, has been observed. This has been described as the small island effect (SIE). The precise meaning of the term remains unresolved, as does the explanation for the phenomenon and even whether it exists. Dengler (2010; Diversity Distrib, 16, 256–266.) addresses a number of conceptual and methodological issues concerning the nature and the detection of the SIE but fails to settle conclusively most of the issues he raises. We contend that his approach is theoretically flawed, especially in its treatment of habitat diversity. We offer a few suggestions of what is needed to advance understanding of the SIE.

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