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How plot shape and spatial arrangement affect plant species richness counts : implications for sampling design and rarefaction analyses

Title data

Güler, Behlül ; Jentsch, Anke ; Apostolova, Iva ; Bartha, Sándor ; Bloor, Juliette ; Campetella, Giandiego ; Canullo, Roberto ; Házi, Judith ; Kreyling, Jürgen ; Pottier, Julien ; Szabó, Gábor ; Terziyska, Tsvetelina ; Uğurlu, Emin ; Wellstein, Camilla ; Zimmermann, Zita ; Dengler, Jürgen:
How plot shape and spatial arrangement affect plant species richness counts : implications for sampling design and rarefaction analyses.
In: Journal of Vegetation Science. Vol. 27 (2016) Issue 4 . - pp. 692-703.
ISSN 1100-9233
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12411

Abstract in another language

Questions: How does the spatial configuration of sampling units influence recorded plant species richness values at small spatial scales? What are the consequences of these findings for sampling methodology and rarefaction analyses?Location: Six semi-natural grasslands in Western Eurasia (France, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Turkey).Methods: In each site we established six blocks of 40 cm × 280 cm, subdivided into 5 cm × 5 cm micro-quadrats, on which we recorded vascular plant species presence with rooted (all sites) and shoot presence method (four sites). Data of these micro-quadrats were then combined to achieve larger sampling units of 0.01, 0.04 and 0.16 m² grain size with six different spatial configurations (square, 4:1 rectangle, 16:1 rectangle, three variants of discontiguous randomly placed micro-quadrats). The effect of the spatial configurations on species richness was then quantified as relative richness compared to the mean richness of the square of the same surface area.Results: Square sampling units had significantly lower species richness than other spatial configurations in all countries. For 4:1 and 16:1 rectangles, the increase of rooted richness was on average about 2% and 8%, respectively. By contrast, the average richness increase for discontiguous configurations was 7%, 17% and 40%. In general, increases were higher with shoot presence than with rooted presence. Overall, the patterns of richness increase were highly consistent across six countries, three grain sizes and two recording methods.Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the shape of sampling units has negligible effects on species richness values when the length-width ratio is up to 4:1 and the effects remain small even for more elongated contiguous configurations. By contrast, results from discontiguous sampling units are not directly comparable with those of contiguous sampling units, and are strongly confounded by spatial extent. This finding is particularly problematic for rarefaction studies where spatial extent is often not controlled for. We suggest that the concept of effective area is a useful tool to report effects of spatial configuration on richness values, and introduce species-extent relationships (SERs) to describe richness increases of different spatial configurations of sampling units.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER134952
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Plant Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Chair Biogeography
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Disturbance Ecology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences > Professorship Disturbance Ecology > Professorship Disturbance Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Anke Jentsch
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Earth Sciences
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2016 10:42
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 10:20
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/33884