In a recent post I asked whether Mayfield & Levine (2010) were succeeding in their attempt to get phylogenetic community ecology to take modern coexistence theory seriously. I’ve just noticed that there’s another, forthcoming attempt to make the same point. HilleRisLambers et al. (in press, AREES; now available online) is a major review of modern coexistence theory, how it has been tested so far, and how it could be tested. Included is a lengthy discussion of how phylogenetic and trait information, in combination with appropriate experimental data and other information, might shed light on contemporary coexistence mechanisms and determinants of local community membership.
I’ve only skimmed the paper as yet, but it certainly looks to be attacking a key gap in the literature head on. Modern coexistence theory has most often been used to explain how the species that live at a given location all manage to coexist, not to also explain community membership (i.e. how come species that don’t live at that location don’t live there?) Recommended reading, and I’ll be curious to see what influence it has over the next few years.