Species-area data from a study of marsh birds are used to test five predictions generated by the equilibrium theory of island biogeography. Three predictions are supported: we found a significant species-area relationship, a non-zero level of turnover, and a variance-mean ratio of 0.5. One prediction is rejected: the extinction rates were not greater on small islands. The results of one test are equivocal: the number of species on each island was not always the same. As Gilbert (1980) suggests, a strong species-area relationship alone does not validate the theory. The avian communities we studied were on habitat islands, not true islands, and underwent complete extinction annually. Thus caution must be used before applying the theory to these and other habitat islands.
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Habitat islands and the equilibrium theory of island biogeography: testing some predictions