Estimating species relative abundances from museum records
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1. Dated, geo-referenced museum specimens are a rich data source for reconstructing species' distribution and abundance patterns. However, museum records are potentially biased towards over-representation of rare species, and it is unclear whether museum records can be used to estimate relative abundance in the field. 2. We assembled 17 coupled field and museum datasets to quantitatively compare relative abundance estimates with the Dirichlet distribution. Collectively, these datasets comprise 73,039 museum records and 1,405,316 field observations of 2,240 species. 3. Although museum records of rare species overestimated relative abundance by 1-fold to over 100-fold (median study = 9.0), the relative abundance of species estimated from museum occurrence records was strongly correlated with relative abundance estimated from standardized field surveys (r2 range of 0.10-0.91, median study = 0.43). 4. These analyses provide a justification for estimating species relative abundance with carefully curated museum occurrence records, which may allow for the detection of temporal or spatial shifts in the rank ordering of common and rare species.
Gotelli , N J , Booher , D B , Urban , M C , Ulrich , W , Suarez , A V , Skelly , D K , Russell , D J , Rowe , R J , Rothendler , M , Rios , N , Rehan , S M , Ni , G , Moreau , C S , Magurran , A E , Jones , F A M , Graves , G R , Fiera , C , Burkhardt , U & Primack , R B 2021 , ' Estimating species relative abundances from museum records ' , Methods in Ecology and Evolution , vol. Early View . https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13705
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
DescriptionFunding: C.F., U.B. and D.J.R. acknowledge COST Action ‘European Soil-Biology Data Warehouse for Soil Protection’ (EUdaphobase), CA18237, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). AEM thanks the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2019-401). D.B.B. was supported by an NSF Postdoc Research Fellowship in Biology (NSF 000733206), S.M.R. was supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant Author Contributions, A.V.S. was supported by NSF 1755336, C.S.M was supported by NSF 1398620 and N.J.G was supported by NSF 2019470.
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