How plot shape and spatial arrangement affect plant species richness counts: implications for sampling design and rarefaction analyses
Behlül Güler, Anke Jentsch, Iva Apostolova, Sándor Bartha, Juliette M.G. Bloor, Giandiego Campetella, Roberto Canullo, Judit Házi, Jürgen Kreyling, Julien Pottier, Gábor Szabó, Tsvetelina Terziyska, Emin Uğurlu, Camilla Wellstein, Zita Zimmermann and Jürgen Dengler
Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/jvs.12411
How does the spatial configuration of sampling units influence recorded plant species richness values? We sampled fine-grain plant composition data in grasslands of six West Eurasian countries (2688 micro-quadrats per site) and aggregated them to sampling units of different spatial configuration. While rectangles were only negligibly richer than squares, discontinuous sampling units showed much higher richness, depending on the degree of spatial separation. Species-extent relationships (SERs) describe this increase in recorded richness with decreasing compactness and follow a power law.