Community Ecology

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 225–232 | Cite as

Application of the intermediate disturbance hypothesis to flooding

  • R. M. CrandallEmail author
  • C. R. Hayes
  • E. N. Ackland


We examine literature on flooding as a disturbance on both sessile and mobile organisms. The limitations and assumptions of the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis (IDH) are identified and examined. We conclude that research on plants supports the IDH. In contrast, mobile invertebrates and vertebrates rarely support the hypothesis. Therefore, we strongly encourage investigators to consider explanations beyond the IDH when explaining community dynamics following floods.

Key words

Disturbance Diversity Flooding Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis Invertebrates Vegetation Vertebrates 



Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis


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We express gratitude to Michael W. Palmer, Ronald J. Tyrl, Daniel C. Dauwalter, J. Nana Annan, Jason J. Schaffler and four anonymous reviewers for their careful examination of this paper. We also thank Gabriel B. Cosyleon for insightful suggestions.


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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2003

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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