Trait-divergence assembly rules have been demonstrated: Limiting similarity lives! A reply to Grime



The recent Forum contribution by Grime (2006) contrasts the MacArthur/Diamond assembly-rule approach to studying plant communities with the study of environmental trait gradients. Both are valid and useful. In doing so, Grime declares that the assembly rules model, in which negative interactions between plants act with limiting similarity to cause local trait divergence, is “not supported by empirical study of plant communities”. This is, he says, the agony of community ecology. I show that there is now abundant evidence for assembly rules, and no agony.