Neutral Theory and Beyond

James O'Dwyer, Ryan Chisholm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article summarizes the history, formulation, and results of neutral theory in ecology. The motivation for the development of neutral theory is outlined, including its foundations in the theories of molecular evolution and island biogeography. The authors provide an explicit mathematical formulation of Hubbell's original neutral model, and outline the predictions of this model and subsequent refinements and extensions. Nonneutral models are discussed, and they summarize the prospects for future development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biodiversity
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780123847195
ISBN (Print)9780123847201
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity
  • Biogeography
  • Community ecology
  • Neutral theory
  • Null models
  • Spacial models
  • Species abundances
  • Species richness
  • Species-area relationship
  • Theoretical ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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