|Steinbauer, M; Dolos, K; Reineking, B; Beierkuhnlein, C: Current measures for distance decay in similarity of species composition are influenced by study extent and grain size, Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21(12), 1203–1212 (2012), doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2012.00772.x|
Aim: The relationship between geographic distance and similarity in species composition is regularly used as a measure of species turnover and beta diversity. Distance decay analyses are applied, cited and compared despite variable extent, and different grain sizes of records (e.g. plots, islands, states) are regularly used within such analyses. Currently, differences among distance decay relationships that cover different grain sizes and extents are attributed to ecological processes that are suspected to operate differently over varying extent and grain size. We assess whether the implicit assumption that the distance decay relation is independent from grain size and study extent is valid, or whether sampling design could be the underlying cause for observed differences.
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