Desert rodent communities are compared for evidence of convergent evolution at various levels of organization, including the systemic (physiological, anatomical, etc.), autecological, and synecological. Convergence is quite pronounced at the systemic level, less pronounced at the autecological level, and even less detectable at the synecological level. This is not to imply that community convergence does not occur, but rather that our current abilities to quantify and detect convergence at the community level are rudimentary-and our data base is still far from adequate to the task of rigorously comparing community attributes. Most research on the ecology, behavior, physiology, and community structure of desert rodents has been conducted on North American species inhabiting deserts of the United States. The patterns of species coexistence that have been elucidated in these deserts are often presumed to apply in other deserts of the world. It has become apparent that in recent years, however, that the complex North American desert system is unique in many ways, perhaps especially in the biogeographic history of its habitats and faunas, from most of the other deserts of the world. The North American deserts offer an unusually diverse fauna and faunas, from most of the other deserts of the world. The North American deserts offer an unusually diverse fauna of desert rodents (both alpha and beta diversity are high) which evidences patterns of distribution and coexistence that excited biologists working with the mechanisms of competitive interactions. Similar studies carried out in other deserts might very well lead to a different set of ideas concerning the ways in which desert rodents manage to coexist and how desert communities develop over time. The present paper is an attempt to compare community structure and development as well as patterns of coexistence among the various faunas of desert rodents of the world. Although data are sketchy for many areas, sufficient information is available to allow a preliminary comparison of methods of adaptation and coexistence to be made.
Mares, Michael A.
"Desert rodent adaptation and community structure,"
Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs: Vol. 7
, Article 3.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/gbnm/vol7/iss1/3