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Title: Estimating species numbers by extrapolation: a cautionary note


Ulrich, Werner

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Estimating species numbers by extrapolation


Polish Academy of Sciences. Institute of Ecology


Polish Academy of Sciences. Institute of Ecology. Publishing Office

Place of publishing:

Dziekanów Leśny


Pages 299-305 : illustrations ; 27 cm ; Bibliographical references (pages 304-305)

Type of object:



This paper evaluates the accuracy any estimator of species numbers may achieve if only a limited fraction (up to 3/4) of the species number in the community has been sampled. From the impossibility to infer the relative abundance distribution (RAD) the rare and not sampled species follow it is shown that it is only possible to give a lower and an upper boundary of the species number. The lower boundary may be inferred either from a fit of a log-normal type RAD or by a graphical method. In the latter case, the lower boundary is Smin = (ln (dmin) - 2 icpt) / slope with dmin being the minimal possible relative density in the community and icpt and slope being the intercept and the slope of the geometric series fitted through the linear part of the log-normal distribution. The upper boundary is found through an extrapolation of this geometric series up to dmin [Smax = (ln (dmin) - icpt) / slope]. For any estimator to work dmin has to be known.


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Polish Journal of Ecology





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oai:rcin.org.pl:115830 ; ISSN 1505-2249


MiIZ PAN, call no. P.2840 ; click here to follow the link



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Creative Commons Attribution BY 3.0 PL license

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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY 3.0 PL] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY 3.0 PL license, full text available at: ; -

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Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Library of the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Projects co-financed by:

Operational Program Digital Poland, 2014-2020, Measure 2.3: Digital accessibility and usefulness of public sector information; funds from the European Regional Development Fund and national co-financing from the state budget.



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Oct 16, 2020

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Feb 28, 2020

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