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Keywords:

  • Biogeography;
  • macroecology;
  • spatial analysis;
  • spatial autocorrelation;
  • spatial trends;
  • statistical analyses

Abstract

Spatial analyses are indispensable analytical tools in biogeography and macroecology. In a recent Guest Editorial, Hawkins (Journal of Biogeography, 2012, 39, 1–9) raised several issues related to spatial analyses. While we concur with some points, we here clarify those confounding (1) spatial trends and spatial autocorrelation, and (2) spatial autocorrelation in the response variable and in the residuals. We argue that recognizing spatial autocorrelation in statistical modelling is not only a crucial step in model diagnostics, but that disregarding it is essentially wrong.