Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Reader in Biodiversity and Ecosystems



+44 (0)20 7594 1059j.tobias




KennedySilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Ulrich, W and Lens, L and Tobias, JA and Habel, JC},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0163338},
journal = {PLOS One},
title = {Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments},
url = {},
volume = {11},
year = {2016}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Rapid fragmentation and degradation of large undisturbed habitats constitute major threats to biodiversity. Several studies have shown that populations in small and highly isolated habitat patches are prone to strong environmental and demographic stochasticity and increased risk of extinction. Based on community assembly theory, we predict recent rapid forest fragmentation to cause a decline in species and functional guild richness of forest birds combined with a high species turnover among habitat patches, and well defined dominance structures, if competition is the major driver of community assembly. To test these predictions, we analysed species co-occurrence, nestedness, and competitive strength to infer effects of interspecific competition, habitat structure, and species′ traits on the assembly of bird species communities from 12 cloud forest fragments in southern Kenya. Our results do not point to a single ecological driver of variation in species composition. Interspecific competition does not appear to be a major driver of species segregation in small forest patches, while its relative importance appears to be higher in larger ones, which may be indicative for a generic shift from competition-dominated to colonisation-driven community structure with decreasing fragment size. Functional trait diversity was independent of fragment size after controlling for species richness. As fragmentation effects vary among feeding guilds and habitat generalists, in particular, tend to decline in low quality forest patches, we plead for taking species ecology fully into account when predicting tropical community responses to habitat change.
AU - Ulrich,W
AU - Lens,L
AU - Tobias,JA
AU - Habel,JC
DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0163338
PY - 2016///
SN - 1932-6203
TI - Contrasting patterns of species richness and functional diversity in bird communities of East African cloud forest fragments
T2 - PLOS One
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 11
ER -