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Science. 1998 Sep 4;281(5382):1513-5.

Extrapolating species abundance across spatial scales

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  • 1Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. E-mail: uk.


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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