The species–area relationship does not have an asymptote!

Authors


Mark Williamson 1 Department of Biology, University of York, York, YO10 5 DD, UK. E-mail: mw1@york.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim

To attack a widespread myth.

Location

World-wide.

Methods

Simple mathematical logical and empirical examples.

Results

As both species and area are finite and non-negative, the species–area relationship is limited at both ends. The log species–log area relationship is normally effectively linear on scales from about 1 ha to 107 km2. There are no asymptotes. At the intercontinental scale it may get steeper; at small scales it may in different cases get steeper or shallower or maintain its slope.

Main conclusion

The species–area relationship does not have an asymptote.

Ancillary