Species-range size distributions in Britain

Authors

  • Kevin J. Gaston,

    1. K. J. Gaston (K.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk), Dept ofAnimal and Plant Sciences, Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K. S10 2TN. R. M. Quinn and T. M. Blackburn, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, U.K. SL5 JPY.-B. C. Eversham, Biological Records Centre, Inst. of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, U.K. PE17 2LS
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  • Rachel M. Quinn,

    1. K. J. Gaston (K.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk), Dept ofAnimal and Plant Sciences, Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K. S10 2TN. R. M. Quinn and T. M. Blackburn, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, U.K. SL5 JPY.-B. C. Eversham, Biological Records Centre, Inst. of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, U.K. PE17 2LS
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  • Tim M. Blackburn,

    1. K. J. Gaston (K.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk), Dept ofAnimal and Plant Sciences, Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K. S10 2TN. R. M. Quinn and T. M. Blackburn, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, U.K. SL5 JPY.-B. C. Eversham, Biological Records Centre, Inst. of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, U.K. PE17 2LS
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  • Brian C. Eversham

    1. K. J. Gaston (K.j.gaston@sheffield.ac.uk), Dept ofAnimal and Plant Sciences, Univ. of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K. S10 2TN. R. M. Quinn and T. M. Blackburn, NERC Centre for Population Biology, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, U.K. SL5 JPY.-B. C. Eversham, Biological Records Centre, Inst. of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, U.K. PE17 2LS
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Abstract

The detailed forms of species-range size distributions in Britain are determined and contrasted for ten taxonomic assemblages (liverworts, vascular plants, molluscs [aquatic and terrestrial], dragonflies, macro-moths. butterflies, birds [breeding and wintering], mammals). All are strongly right-skewed when range sizes are untransformed. A logarithmic transformation fails to normalise the distribution for all but one group, and the distributions for several groups are not readily normalised at all. Taxa with larger median range sizes have species-range size distributions that are less strongly right-skewed. The median observed range sizes of species in each of the taxonomic groups fall, in terms of decreasing range size, in the sequence wintering birds < breeding birds < mammals < butterflies < terrestrial molluscs < dragonflies < aquatic molluscs < vascular plants < moths < liverworts. Despite the difficulties in deriving a simple and sensible mechanistic model for range size distributions, this is likely to be the most important next step towards understanding their forms.

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