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1 June 2011 Varying Definitions of Abundance and Incomplete Assemblages Challenge the Generality of the Interspecific Abundance—Distribution Relationships
Atte Komonen, Jussi Päivinen, Janne S. Kotiaho
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Abstract

Empirical evidence does not fully support the universal nature of the positive interspecific abundance—distribution relationship. We have earlier documented a negative relationship for butterfly species in Finland, but recently our view was again challenged using a small subset of Finnish butterflies as apparent evidence. Here we scrutinize the critique and identify some general conceptual challenges in analyses of interspecific abundance—distribution relationships. We identify the common problem that the abundance—distribution studies include only a small subset of species, and thus reveal only sample characteristics, not overall patterns in complete assemblages. Small subsets of species are also unlikely to have sufficient power to reveal nonlinear relationships. Second, varying definitions of abundance, especially the practice of using a single point estimate to describe average density, further spur the empirical evidence for the abundance—distribution relationship. To get theoretically relevant results abundance and distribution must be defined and operationalised consistently; otherwise macroecology will reduce to simple documentation of ambiguous patterns and aid little in understanding the biological world.

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2011
Atte Komonen, Jussi Päivinen, and Janne S. Kotiaho "Varying Definitions of Abundance and Incomplete Assemblages Challenge the Generality of the Interspecific Abundance—Distribution Relationships," Annales Zoologici Fennici 48(3), 161-166, (1 June 2011). https://doi.org/10.5735/086.048.0304
Received: 17 December 2010; Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 June 2011
JOURNAL ARTICLE
6 PAGES


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