Beyond the species–area relationship: improving macroecological extinction estimates
Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013
© 2013 The Authors Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2013 British Ecological Society
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Volume 5, Issue 1, pages 1–8, January 2014
How to Cite
Kitzes, J., Harte, J. (2014), Beyond the species–area relationship: improving macroecological extinction estimates. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5: 1–8. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12130
- Issue published online: 14 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 15 OCT 2013 10:55AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 6 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 JUL 2013
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Grant Number: DGE 0946797
- climate change;
- habitat loss;
- The species–area relationship is often used to predict extinction rates following habitat loss and climate change. This metric, however, has several shortcomings for conservation applications, as it does not predict extinction risk for individual species, only predicts the expected number of extinctions without an associated measure of uncertainty, and assumes that a species is protected if one individual of a species remains in a landscape.
- Here, we propose two new metrics, the extinction–area relationship and probabilistic species–area relationship, that address these shortcomings, and present equations for each metric based on empirically well-supported species abundance and spatial abundance distributions.
- Extinction predictions are found to be strongly influenced by the choice of a minimum abundance required for a species to be considered protected, a parameter that cannot be adjusted explicitly in the classic power law form of the species–area relationship.
- These new metrics provide a flexible and theoretically grounded means of applying macroecological principles to the prediction of extinction.