Coherence and discontinuity in the scaling of species' distribution patterns

S Hartley*, WE Kunin, JJ Lennon, MJO Pocock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The spatial distribution of a species can be characterized at many different spatial scales, from fine-scale measures of local population density to coarse-scale geographical-range structure. Previous studies have shown a degree of correlation in species' distribution patterns across narrow ranges of scales, making it possible to predict fine-scale properties from coarser-scale distributions. To test the limits of such extrapolation, we have compiled distributional information on 16 species of British plants, at scales ranging across six orders of magnitude in linear resolution (1 in to 100 km). As expected, the correlation between patterns at different spatial scales tends to degrade as the scales become more widely separated. There is, however, an abrupt breakdown in cross-scale correlations across intermediate (ca. 0.5 km) scales, suggesting that local and regional patterns are influenced by essentially non-overlapping sets of processes. The scaling discontinuity may also reflect characteristic scales of human land use in Britain, suggesting a novel method for analysing the 'footprint' of humanity on a landscape.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Volume271
Issue number1534
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 07 Jan 2004

Keywords

  • area of occupancy
  • fractal
  • hierarchy
  • range size
  • scale-area plot
  • spatial aggregation
  • ABUNDANCE PATTERNS
  • FRACTAL GEOMETRY
  • SPATIAL SCALE
  • LANDSCAPES
  • DIVERSITY
  • DEPENDENCE
  • GRASSLAND
  • RICHNESS
  • RANGE
  • SIZE

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