Effects of range size on species-area relationships

Andrew P. Allen*, Ethan P. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


It has been known for some time that the slope of the species-area relationship increases asymptotically at broad spatial scales when richness is plotted against area on logarithmic axes. At continental to global scales, species-area relationships are determined to a large extent by the abundance and size distribution of species ranges. Here we present an analytical model that explicitly quantifies the effects of range size on species-area relationships. The model shows how range size and plot area interact to control the form of species-area relationships at broad spatial scales. It also demonstrates how changes in spatial scale affect biodiversity patterns by changing the relative influence of range size and range abundance on species richness. Our model provides an explanation for the broad-scale upturn of the species-area relationship, but more work is needed to incorporate the effects of range size, habitat heterogeneity, individual sampling and other variables into a unified framework that can account for species-area relationships at all scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-499
Number of pages7
JournalEvolutionary Ecology Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity
  • Macroecology
  • Power law
  • Range size
  • Spatial scale
  • Species richness
  • Species-area relationship


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of range size on species-area relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this