Abstract: I tested the reliability of species‐area curves for use in identifying hotspots, political or geographical regions of high species richness. On a species‐area plot, hotspots are points (regions) that appear above the curve to a greater extent than other points. Because several different curves can be fit to species‐area data, identification of hotspots may differ depending on the curve‐fitting function used. I tested this hypothesis by comparing hotspots identified by the power function, the extreme value function, a linear function, and the exponential function. I examined several species‐area data sets varying in size and in the presence of endemics. I defined hotspots as the highest 25% for small data sets and highest 10% and 25% for large data sets of standardized residuals from each function fitted to each data set. For some data sets, the functions agreed in identification of hotspots in that they identified 75% or more of the same hotspots. The extreme value function tended to identify hotspots not identified by the other three functions. For most data sets, the functions did not agree completely in identifying hotspots. Therefore, species‐area curves should not be used as the sole means of identifying hotspots of species richness, although they can be used to examine the effect hotspot area has on richness for hotspots identified by other methods.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2000
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