The pervasive influence of sampling and methodological artefacts on a macroecological pattern: The abundance-occupancy relationship

Peter D. Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: To investigate the influence of sampling and methodological artefacts on the correlation between abundance and occupancy. Location:Global scope. Methods: A fixed effects weighted regression model was fitted to standardized effect size for 175 examples of correlations between abundance and occupancy. A regression tree model with standard effect size as the dependent variable was also fitted to the data. Results: Standard effect size, and therefore the correlation between abundance and occupancy, was found to be strongly influenced by the type of abundance measure used to characterize the abundance-occupancy relationship. Local mean abundance (also referred to as ecological mean abundance) was primarily responsible for negative correlations. Negative correlations also resulted from a mismatch in the sampling extents of abundance and occupancy measures. Main conclusions: The combination of abundance and occupancy measures selected to characterize the abundance-occupancy relationship for a given set of data has a profound impact on the sign of the correlation between the selected measures. Previous attempts to understand the processes giving rise to the pattern represented by the abundance-occupancy relationship have confounded sampling artefacts (e.g. spatial extent of abundance and occupancy information) and methodological artefacts (e.g. combining a truncated abundance measure such as local mean abundance with an untruncated occupancy measure such as proportion of occupied samples). Thus, a revision of the approach currently used to define and evaluate competing explanatory models of the abundance-occupancy relationship appears to be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
Number of pages8
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

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