Scale in macroecology

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Abstract

The past 15 years have seen the development of macroecology as a respectable discipline within the biological sciences. Initial concerns about the utility of a large-scale approach to ecology have been quietened, if not eliminated, but other arguments about spatial scale in ecology have arisen to take their place. The situation has moved from the absolute advocacy of small-scale over large-scale studies to an advocacy of some large scales in preference to others. Here, we argue that there is no general sense in which one scale of study (either in terms of spatial extent or sampling resolution) is better than any other. As long as there are sensible reasons for using the scale chosen, studies at all scales have the potential to inform about the structure and function of the ecological systems that clothe this planet.

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