Extrapolating Species Abundance Across Spatial Scales

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Science  04 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5382, pp. 1513-1515
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5382.1513

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The analysis, measurement, and management of species abundance is central to ecology and conservation biology, but it has proved difficult to find a single index that adequately reflects the commonness or rarity of species across a range of spatial scales. Here, a scale-independent measure of species abundance is developed, using presence-absence maps at varying spatial resolutions. By extrapolating such “scale-area” curves, species abundance can be estimated accurately even at scales finer than those used to parameterize the model, a task that had previously been deemed impossible in principle.

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