The joint spatial and temporal fluctuations in the community structure of tropical butterflies are analyzed by fitting the bivariate Poisson lognormal distribution to a large number of observations in space and time. By applying multivariate dependent diffusions for describing the fluctuations in the abundances, the environmental variance is estimated to be very large and so is the strength of local density regulation. The variance in the lognormal species abundance distribution is partitioned into components expressing the heterogeneity between the species, independent noise components for the different species, a demographic stochastic component, and a component due to overdispersion in the sampling. In disagreement with the neutral theory, the estimates show that the heterogeneity component is the dominating one, representing 81% of the total variance in the lognormal model. Different spatial components of diversity, the alpha, beta, and gamma diversity, are also estimated. The spatial scale of the autocorrelation function for the community is of order 1 km, while sampling of a quadrat would need to be 10 km on a side to yield the total diversity for the community.
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