An autoregressive model for global vertebrate richness rankings: long-distance dispersers may have stronger spatial structures

Abstract

Spatial autocorrelations are one of the most prevalent natural phenomena in ecological data. It is generally assumed that short-distance dispersers are spatially limited and thus have stronger spatial autocorrelation patterns than do long-distance dispersers. To test this hypothesis, I quantified and compared spatial autocorrelation patterns of global richness rankings of amphibians, mammals, and birds using an autoregressive model. A species richness ranking was used as a proxy of species richness, which was obtained through a digital image processing method from published world maps of species richness. The results showed that the spatial structure could explain the highest variance involved in global richness rankings of mammals (intermediate-distance dispersers), followed by birds (long-distance dispersers). In contrast, amphibians, representing short-distance dispersers, had the lowest degree of spatial autocorrelation patterns. Thus, the present results do not support the abovementioned hypothesis. In conclusion, a complex relationship exists between an animal's dispersal ability and its spatial autocorrelation pattern. The dispersal abilities of species can be negatively correlated with spatial autocorrelation patterns.

DOI: 10.1186/1810-522X-52-57

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Cite this paper

@article{Chen2012AnAM, title={An autoregressive model for global vertebrate richness rankings: long-distance dispersers may have stronger spatial structures}, author={Youhua F. Chen}, journal={Zoological Studies}, year={2012}, volume={52}, pages={1-6} }