On the determinants of census area: implications for ...

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Title On the determinants of census area: implications for mammalian macroecological patterns
Author(s) M. E. Prince, Marina Silva
Journal Global Ecology and Biogeography
Date 2002
Volume 11
Issue 5
Start page 401
End page 409
Abstract The aim of this study was to examine the effects of various biological factors such as body mass, trophic level, climate and geography on census area in terrestrial mammals. The effects of census area on the population density-body mass relationship were also examined. The geographic areas covered in this study include most major terrestrial biomes including taiga, desert, savanna, grassland, tropical dry forest, temperate dry forest, tropical rain forest and temperate rain forest. An extensive literature search was conducted and we compiled data on census area and body mass from 377 mammalian populations and 59 communities. Statistical analyses include linear regression, Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance, LOWESS, and multiple regression. Overall, the regression between log census area (A) and log body mass (M) yielded a slope of 0.710, which did not differ significantly from 0.75, but it was significantly different from 1.0. The analyses also showed that the log A-log M relationship is constrained within a well-defined space in a similar fashion to the home range-body mass relationship. When mammals were separated into trophic groups, regression lines differed significantly in their intercepts, but not in slopes. At the community level, the census area was particularly affected by the population with the largest body mass within the community. Both the number of species and number of taxa encompassed by the community were found to be correlated positively with log A (r=0.26, P=0.0464 and r=0.27, P=0.0398, respectively). Sampling of mammalian species is not usually random. Not only is census area significantly associated with the technique used to sample a given species, but it is also influenced by biological factors that have been shown previously to influence population density. Striking similarities were found between the census area-body mass relationship and the home range-body mass relationship, suggesting that investigators may sample mammalian populations over areas that actually reflect the use of space of their focal species..
DOI 10.1046/j.1466-822x.2002.00292.x

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