Effects of competition, colonization, and extinction on rodent species diversity

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Science  10 Feb 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5199, pp. 880-883
DOI: 10.1126/science.7846530


Analyses of long-term experimental data from the Chihuahuan desert revealed that species diversity of other rodents was higher on plots from which kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.) had been removed. The difference was due to consistently higher colonization and lower extinction probabilities of small granivorous rodents in the absence of competitively dominant kangaroo rats. The results of this ecosystem experiment demonstrate the importance of both competitive exclusion and metapopulation dynamics for biological diversity in a natural community.